Awards Winner - Outstanding Community Involvement Initiative

4th December 2009 at 00:00
Drove Primary School, Swindon

What they did

Language is the starting point for the success of this multicultural school that includes more than 33 communities. Twenty-seven languages are spoken and 79 per cent of pupils do not have English as a first language. In some classes 11 languages are spoken.

Drove also works with other schools in Swindon that lack experience of black and ethnic minority families but who have recently begun to receive them. Its outreach service to Swindon schools covers 13 languages and tries to help children feel comfortable in their new setting. It also runs a crisis service for children who become distressed while they are at school and a Saturday morning language school for 90 local children.

Drove has also been involved in a project to break racial stereotypes with two predominantly white schools with plans to make a 15-minute Bollywood film.

The school wants to increase its pupils' sense of belonging to their immediate community and to their town so it is working with a local historian on the derivation of local street names. Many street names are linked to important historical figures. If you want to engage new children with the history of their new community, it believes, there is no better to start than the street where they live.

What the judges said

The school is making a profound difference to the local community. They were impressed by the "excellent bilingual outreach service and crisis response". They praised its outward-looking approach and its provision for pupils whose first language is not English.

You could do it, too

Schools in this category found numerous ways to reach out to their local communities. One came up with an event to celebrate childhood memories, which has now been launched nationally, another offers secondments for its head and deputy head with local businesses. A partnership with a school in a township in South Africa helped raise results at a secondary school, while others encouraged adult learning and opened up their facilities beyond school hours for community groups.

About the awards

The TES Schools Awards, or TESSAs, celebrate and reward the professionalism and flair of teams making an outstanding contribution to primary and secondary schools in the maintained and independent sectors. This year's event attracted hundreds of entries and the panel of judges was impressed by their range and quality. Next year's TESSAs will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on June 17, 2010, and are open for entries at www.tes.co.ukawards.

Each week we profile one of this year's winners. For more details on entering the 2010 TES Schools Awards visit www.tes.co.ukawards.

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