Hull

The SLN team worked with multiple agencies across Hull to promote integration within the district.

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The programme linked schools from traditionally separate and rival areas of the city and provided an opportunity for children to learn, together, about the heritage of their city. This case study describes the story of Hull and how communities are pulling together in the present time.

Background

Hull is an isolated community within the UK. It is at the ‘end of the line’ in terms of transport infrastructure and location. Over the last ten years the city has experienced a dramatic change to its demographics. The minority ethnic population has increased from 2.1% in 2001 to 9% today. Pockets of deprivation, combined with a prominent East – West split, marked by the River Humber, add to the division of communities.

Building of Bridges

The Humber Bridge has been successful in helping communities, on either side of the river, to come together. Taking inspiration from the ‘building of bridges’ the schools linking programme for Hull explored new ways to bring communities, in different parts of the city, together.

Geographical Identity: Crossing & Building Bridges

Two schools, with a longstanding history of segregation located on separate sides of the River Humber, were linked. Activities included: a treasure hunt with the answers revealing the message “We Love Hull”; use of Google Maps & Street View to explore postcodes and landmarks around Hull; an identity wall with pictures of each child doing something they enjoyed in Hull.

The Multi Agency Approach

The aim of the school linking programme in Hull was to encourage pupils to look at new ways to break down barriers, develop new skills and change perceptions.

The programme has helped to instil pupils with a shared sense of pride in and, belonging to their city, whilst ensuring differences were respected, issues of isolation or segregation tackled and positive relationships between pupils from different cultural backgrounds developed. Inspiration for the work was drawn from the geographical and historical heritage of Hull, which helped pupils to develop an understanding of their shared community.

It was decided that the most effective way to deliver a programme, which had to concentrate on a multitude of tasks, was to involve a team of participants from a wide range of agencies and organisations from across the city. These included:

  • Teachers with responsibility for school improvement
  • Police
  • City Safe (Community Safety)
  • The Development Education Centre
  • The Secondary Effectiveness Team
  • Rugby Clubs
  • Extended Schools Partnership
  • Learning Links workers
  • Police Community Support Officers from each school responsible for cohesion, road safety and drug awareness

How The Four Key Questions Were Embedded Within The Curriculum

Who Am I?

Portraits at the Hull Ferens Art Gallery were used to explore identity and to emphasise the historical and geographical heritage of Hull.

Who Are We?

Linked pairs of schools met at the Wilberforce House Museum, the birthplace of William Wilberforce, to hear the story of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its abolition and, learn about slavery today.

Where Do We Live?

The lack of connection felt by some communities to the city centre was addressed through a linking activity involving a tour of the Old Town and the Fish Trail. Pupils participated in a video conferencing session linked to the healthy lifestyles theme.

How Do We All Live Together?

The strong allegiance in different areas of the city to different rugby league teams was addressed when children toured the KC Stadium together and participated in Healthy Lifestyles & Football Skills workshops.

Funding Tips

  • When bidding for funding it is essential to be prepared and creative.
  • Remember to collect qualitative and quantitative data throughout the project – record teacher feedback at CPD sessions, ask for pupil quotes and photograph displays of work.
  • During the bidding process, make sure you demonstrate the impact of the work and its significance.
  • Be open to using more than one funding stream and consider all options – match funding may be a useful strategy.
  • Once you have run a project for a year and teachers have a good understanding of the process, make use of sports centres and school staff, rather than neutral venues, to keep costs down.

Building Schools For The Future

The SLN linking model was used to explore the proposed merger between three schools, Tilbury, Bethune and Ganton Special School, as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme. Pupils and parents at each school had mixed feeling about the merger. The linking programme helped to break down barriers between each school community. Information exchange and visits between schools provided a platform for pupils to explore their new future together.

Activities

  • In a self-reflection exercise, pupils made passports entitled ‘Who Am I?’
  • A shared drama workshop was held at Hull Truck Theatre.
  • Parents and children built a model of the new school out of junk and then named it.
  • Pupils designed new school uniforms and school logos.
  • A picnic in the park was held on a sunny day, with parachute games and traditional sports races.

Links Between Old & New

Successful links were forged between Hull Trinity House School and Endeavour High School, the City’s oldest and newest secondary schools respectively, these schools are close in proximity but miles apart in terms of tradition and cultural intake.

End of Year Celebration

An end of year celebration event at City Hall brought everyone together. The occasion helped to emphasise the commonality of all involved in the linking programme and, went further to help promote community engagement in the city.

Evaluation

A “Reflective Wall” was used at the start and at the end of the linking to map pupils’ changing feelings. Pupils were interviewed and graphs drawn of the findings. These graphs (examples shown above) are a simple yet convincing tool to explain impact and outcomes. Evidence, such as these graphs, is helpful in supporting the financial sustainability of the programme.

Outcomes

School linking in Hull has become central to the integration strategies of many agencies in Hull. The programme is financially sustainable and well known across the district. The school linking manager is regularly called on by schools for support in matters of integration and community cohesion.

Developing a geographical sense of connection to the area was a crucial part of the programme and, this has helped to address particular needs of Hull. Using the past and the historical connections of Hull, as a sea-faring port, has set the context for understanding the current changes in population.

Working across multiple agencies and using the programme as a vehicle to bring pupils, parents and professionals together, is a model worth watching.

“There was an increased amount of confidence exhibited by the Ganton Special School pupils.  During the first meeting at the neutral venue the majority of them lacked confidence and sought out the company of their fellow pupils and staff. However, by the time the Tilbury and Bethune pupils visited Ganton for the day it was hard to distinguish who was from which school and all the students had integrated well. The pupils were heard talking about their new friends and were enthusiastically asking when they were going to see them again.” Ganton Special School Teacher

Benefits For Pupils

Pupils gained an insight into their own and others’ identities, particularly how their own families shape their identities, they enjoyed going to another part of Hull, visiting a contrasting school and getting to know each other. Their awareness of and respect for others has been heightened. By the final visit “reluctant mixers” worked well with each other. One child, who previously refused to go on school trips and had issues about leaving the school, is now happy to do so.

Benefits For Teachers

Teachers said their experiences were refreshing and inspirational and, their own preconceptions about the other school were challenged with outlooks improved. They formed new perspectives of pupils and identified strengths previously not witnessed, greater participation, taking the lead on projects, more pro-active behaviour and greater levels of confidence.

Comments

“I believe that all the children’s awareness of communities and the role they play in society has increased.” Teacher

“As well as social skills, the children’s communication skills were developed significantly through speaking and listening activities, including circle games, group work, mini and large-scale presentations.” Teacher

“I never really thought about where I come from and what kind of things I like before.” Child on Hull SLN programme

“Staff were able to demonstrate areas of strength and share good practice.” Winifred Holtby & Malet Lambert School

“We’ve seen the children develop their communication skills, adults working as a wider team and increased parental involvement.” Bude Park & Chiltern Primary

“We have found many similarities between what appears to be two different schools.” Endeavour High & Hull Trinity House School

“There was an increased amount of confidence exhibited by the Ganton Special School pupils. During the first meeting at the neutral venue the majority of them lacked confidence and sought out the company of their fellow pupils and staff. However, by the time the Tilbury and Bethune pupils visited Ganton for the day it was hard to distinguish who was from which school and all the students had integrated well. The pupils were heard talking about their new friends and were enthusiastically asking when they were going to see them again.” Ganton Special School Teacher

Download the Hull Case Study here.