ISA Outstanding Community Involvement Award
At Leighton Park (LP) our Quaker values focus our activities as we build young people of real character and confidence, with a determined desire to change the world. A sense of responsibility, a commitment to helping others and a determination to make a difference is the beating heart of our school.
We are therefore delighted that our school is one of only three to have been shortlisted for the 2020 Independent Schools Association (ISA) Award for Outstanding Community Involvement. The efforts of our staff, students and their families in supporting a variety of local initiatives have been generous and heart-felt and we are pleased that they have been acknowledged for their actions. Head, Matthew Judd, commented “This is in recognition of the work we have been doing for the last year in outreach and partnership. The area has been led by Natasha Coccia, Assistant Head, Outreach and Co-curricular, and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to her and all colleagues involved in this area. We are hugely proud of what has been achieved.”
At Easter, under the direction of our Head of DT, LP founded an incredible hub partnership producing PPE for frontline keyworkers fighting Coronavirus across Berkshire. Bringing together 18 partner schools, three commercial organisations and one university, the ‘Safer Vision’ hub partnership created and dispatched over 39,000 face shields at a time of national crisis. £28,000 was raised for materials through our GoFundMe crowd-funding site and the partnership made a difference to almost 500 organisations desperate for vital PPE. The shields were given free of charge and were welcomed by hospitals, hospices, care homes, GP surgeries, pharmacies, adult and elderly care services, schools and councils all needing to protect their frightened staff. Gareth Williams, Chief Operating Officer for Choice Care Homes, who received 1,600 shields from Safer Vision, said: “We all make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give. The school should be very proud of that.”
We want all students to experience the LP difference, achievement with values, character and community, regardless of where they are educated. Each year we curate our ‘Be Inspired’ programme which aims to enrich, delight and intrigue young minds. Our Year 10 Sports Leaders support Whiteknights Primary School’s National Curriculum requirement for KS2 pupils to swim 10m unaided by the end of Year 6. Working with local sustainable design consultancy, Design Thinking Ltd, to ignite the imaginations of their Year 5s we visited Farley Hill Primary and subsequently hosted their students for a creative DT workshop facilitating the creation of the sustainable products they had dreamt up. Our relationship with Design Thinking and with TechnicalNature, also allowed us to offer a sustainability challenge day to six teams of Sixth Formers from three visiting schools exploring solutions to the issue of food waste. Other initiatives included our Year 10 Dance students and Head of Dance collaboratively choreographing the finale of a Year 6 production of ‘The Lion King’ and our talented Food Tech team hosting a series of mini-bake off competitions for 44 children from three schools culminating in our Super Chefs final.
We consolidated our partnership with Foundry College Pupil Referral Unit developing an inaugural three year Memorandum of Understanding. We have delivered weekly drumming and parkour sessions to KS2 students who had been excluded from mainstream education and provided work experience placements for KS4 students interested in grounds and maintenance pathways. During lockdown, LP staff visited Foundry with weekly donations of lego, books, garden equipment, refreshments and paint for vulnerable students’ use whilst attending school during the pandemic.
LP students and their families galvanised to support key partner organisations through our popular LP Donate stream throughout lockdown. Weekly donations of items for those affected by Covid-19 included hygiene products for Launchpad Reading, food parcels for Whitley Community Development Association (CDA), care packages for Age UK Reading and books/board games for ABC Reading.
On 5th June, Head of Boys’ Games, Tim Green, ran an on-campus marathon raising over £3,000 for our partner charity, Whitley CDA, directly supporting local families affected by Covid-19. Our current Year 10 Community Action Service volunteers have just begun work on a living town museum for the residents of Whitley. Trisha Bennett, Community Development Coordinator for Whitley CDA, commented, “Working with LP has been amazing. They have wrapped their arms around us and found a range of creative ways to support our work with the Whitley community.”