South Clifton Catholic Hub
The South Clifton Catholic Hub, consisting of three Catholic independent schools, one maintained secondary school and nine maintained primary schools, was established in 2010. The Hub acts under the terms of a soft federation or collaboration, with an executive committee of headteachers and a strategic body of governors and headteachers. The Hub has set up a number of programmes and sub-groups in recent years, including a co-ordinators group for RE teachers.
In October 2016, Prior Park School in Bath hosted all the Hub school for a Laudato Si’ day, in which the pupils used the schools historic landscape gardens and chapel to explore in some depth the encyclical letter of Pope Francis on care for our common home. The day marked the beginning of a year-long project in the schools, with older pupils working with younger pupils to help draw up action plans for what could be done in school. The headteachers group will monitor impact and progress throughout the year and the project will conclude with another day at Prior Park to celebrate the work of the schools.
Stonyhurst College, Lancashire: Christian Heritage Centre
The Christian Heritage Centre project at Stonyhurst is an excellent example of partnership between an independent school and a freestanding charitable project. Not only will it rescue the ruins of a grade two listed building in the grounds of Stonyhurst College, it will provide a residential resource for scholars, retreats, and leadership formation. Stonyhurst is home to Collections of more than 60,000 books and 50,000 artefacts, some of which are currently being exhibited in Washington DC. The CHC charity wants to make the Collections more accessible to a wider audience and to College students. Earlier this year, the CHC charity was able to provide over £200,000 for the new exhibition areas in the restored Old Chapel Museum.
£2.7 million has now been raised towards the restoration of the Old Mill Building which will be known as Theodore House: St. Theodore was a Syrian Christian, sent to Britain as Archbishop of Canterbury. Theodore House will provide over 30 units of accommodation, enabling visiting scholars to study the unique historic Collections. There will be opportunities for schools to use the facility for retreats and Theodore House will also help to form and sustain Christian leaders in professional and civic life.
In addition, the Christian sculptor, Stephen Broadbent, has been asked to design a set contemporary stations of the cross (The Northern Stations) in the adjacent woodland (Fox Hall Wood) and to give them contemporary themes of suffering and crucifixion (exploring issues such as suicide, mental illness, loneliness, persecution, conflict, abandonment). Stephen is keen to involve young people – particularly those currently unemployed and from the north and with an interest in sculpture and the arts – to develop skills while working on the project.
The projects Royal Patron is the Queens cousin, Lord Nicholas Windsor. Among the CHCs other Patrons are four Cardinals, Bishop Nicholas Reade (the former Anglican Bishop of Blackburn) Lord Shuttleworth (Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire), Professor David Khalili (the Jewish philanthropist and academic), Field Marshall Lord Guthrie (former head of our armed forces) the Rt. Hon Ann Widdecombe, Ilyas Khan KSG and John Studzinski CBE KSG. Other Patrons include Parliamentarians such as Frank Field MP, Sir Edward Leigh MP, Baroness (Caroline) Cox, Nigel Evans, Lord Hennessy and Lord Brennan QC. To learn more visit: Christian Heritage Centre.
Diocese of Middlesbrough Teaching School Alliance
Ampleforth Collegein Yorkshire has been successful in its application to co-lead, with All Saints in York, the Diocese of Middlesbrough Teaching School Alliance. The alliance, in partnership with Leeds Trinity University, will take on its first student teachers onto its School Direct programme in September 2017. The benefit of the School Direct (salaried) route is that the school, in conjunction with Leeds Trinity, can develop a programme with a focus on core values which will lead to a PGCE and QTS status. The staff at Ampleforth will be able to offer academic subjects which are being lost to the curriculum, such as Classics.
Steve Sandwell, the Operations Manager for the Diocese of Middlesbrough Teaching School Alliance, said, “Our Teaching School Alliance will harness the strength and talents of those colleagues within the partner schools to ensure outstanding outcomes for the young people in our care. We offer an extensive range of opportunities through our Alliance including: a School Direct Teacher Training Programme, CPD provision for both primary and secondary colleagues and a network of experienced and specialist staff who can put together bespoke CPD and support packages for schools as required.”
New Hall sponsorship of Messing-cum-Inworth Primary School
In 2013, New Hall School near Chelmsford became the first independent school to set up a Multi-Academy Trust to help turn around the fortunes of a local primary school, a revolutionary move that has now been imitated by a number of other independent schools. Messing Primary School faced closure, in special measures with only 31 pupils. Two years on, with a roll of over 80, it is oversubscribed and is rated ‘Good’, with ‘Outstanding Leadership and Governance’ by Ofsted. New Hall Governors have significant expertise in Multi-Academy Trusts; they generously advise many schools in the maintained and independent sectors. Governance at New Hall is consistently assessed ‘excellent’ by ISI, Ofsted and Brentwood Diocese: “Governance of the school is excellent, pupils’ achievement and personal development demonstrate high levels of success in accordance with the school’s aims.” (ISI).
St Vincent’s School, A Specialist School for Sensory Impairment and Other Needs
The staff and pupils of St. Vincent’s in Liverpool have been working on innovative technology to benefit visually impaired young people, who have much higher levels of unemployment and isolation than their peers. Their most recent project has been the Sightbox, a collection of technology to enable better participation by VI young people in sports. The technology being developed includes a rugby ball with a bell, a running line to enable VI young people to run without the aid of a sighted guide and a grid to allow VI young people to take part in bowls. Working in partnership with local businesses, St. Vincent’s will be distributing the Sightboxes to VI communities locally, nationally and internationally. This will not only benefit the VI young people who participate but there will be a social enterprise benefit as training and employment opportunities are developed.
The impact of these projects, in different ways, will be to increase social capital among those taking part, whether that is by exposure to enhanced learning environments and rare artefacts, finding pathways into a values-based teaching career, directly improving the quality of education offered in a school or providing innovative equipment to help overcome the obstacle of visual impairment.