TES Schools Awards 2009 - Outstanding community involvement initiative

12th June 2009 at 01:00

Winner - Drove Primary, Swindon, Wiltshire

Language is the starting point for the success of this multicultural school, which takes children from more than 33 communities and where 27 languages are spoken. Seventy nine per cent of pupils do not have English as a first language, and in some classes 11 languages are spoken.

Drove Primary 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 at school, and a Saturday language school for 90 children from across the town.

Drove Primary and two predominantly white schools are jointly running a project to break down racial stereotypes. They work together in a Bollywood dance school and plan to make a 15-minute Bollywood-style film.

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

Judges' verdict: The school is making a profound difference, they said. 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.

TES Schools Awards 2009:

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