Schools Linking Awarded DCLG Funding to Tackle Difficult Conversations
Schools Linking has been awarded money by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to run a test programme tackling a range of difficult conversations in secondary schools. Over the last term students from three schools across the district have been learning and talking about a range of subjects from empathy to Islamophobia, homosexuality, racism, and more.
The aim of the programme was to aid teachers in working with students to create a safe space in which conversations around difficult topics could take place. This gave students the opportunity to voice their concerns or repeat what they have heard and for teachers to listen and add wider perspectives to the dialogue.
Following the programme a teacher who had taken part stated how important the work is in schools: “The programme has created opportunities to develop emotional intelligence and for students to reflect on thinking. I think we are missing a crucial part of preparing students for their future if we don’t do this.”
A pupil who took part was equally in favour of the work: “It’s very important to discuss topics like gay rights and refugees. We need to understand how other people feel.”
Independent evaluators the Woolf Institute, Cambridge and an educational consultant from Kirklees are currently evaluating the impact of the programme with the aim of recommending best practice for engaging in difficult topics in schools. Resources used in the pilot programme will be available on the Schools Linking website soon.