Engaging with the Community to Celebrate and Educate
Two years ago, staff at Edward Worlledge Community Junior School in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, used the questionnaire in the Index for Inclusion to identify priorities for the school’s development that year. The consensus was to concentrate on Dimension A1: Building Community, and specifically on indicator A1.10: “The school and local communities develop each other”. They decided to encourage the local community to become more involved in school life. They also wanted to involve the children in becoming more aware of the members of their local community, addressing respect issues and engaging with all age groups and cultures.
Collectively, the school decided to organise a series of events to bring the diverse community together to share skills and improve understanding of other cultures and global issues. This initial idea then enabled the school to secure funding and support from Creative Partnerships and a range of community organisations. This led to a range of activities being offered to children and the wider community, including circus skills, costume making, Mardi Gras and science workshops, pottery and jewellery-making. All of this prepared the ground for a summer carnival, including local performers, businesses and participants from across the community – which was a great success.
A further consultation was made within the school on the use of remaining funds – the school chose to engage the local community in discussing and preparing for local emergencies such as flood, fires and power cuts. They staged a performance followed by an open day to raise awareness and provide a forum for discussion and collaboration. Publicity for the event, and the resulting information booklet, was delivered to all houses in the area.
Staff recognized that information collected from the Index surveys will provide valuable information for future projects – and that the Index itself is a valuable resource that will be of great use in the future.