We find out how pupils at Farleigh School forge links with their near neighbours – and what benefits the community gets as a result…
How closely is your school linked to its local community?
Farleigh and has strong ties with local organisations, schools and charities. Pupils from Icknield School in Andover visit Farleigh every week to meet friends in Year 7; we have a long standing relationship with the Andover foodbank supporting their annual Easter Egg collection and Christmas Gift Box appeal; and donations from the Pre-Prep Harvest Festival go to the foodbank.
Over the past year pupils have visited Lion Oak Court and Harrier Grange residential care homes in Andover as part of their e-Portfolio ‘buddying’ project and the pupils organised a summer fun afternoon at Harrier Grange. This term children will also be visiting Winton Nursing home to meet with residents and show them their work
Kids on Track Andover, a local charity for disadvantaged children, was set up by Farleigh parents and the charity regularly uses the school’s facilities for their activity camps during the holidays. Farleigh also hosts a primary school choral workshop in the autumn term.
The Farleigh site is used to host the Andover Triathlon and the swimming pool is used by several adult and child based groups, serving the needs of the local community.
Do you run any specific community-focused projects?
Community Service is now in its 21st year at Farleigh and was started originally by a Farleigh parent, who worked at Icknield school. Every week 10 children from Icknield join our pupils who, as part of their Leadership programme, play with a group of children who have physical and mental challenges.
Some cannot communicate, others find movement difficult, while others can do both. The key thing is that, with our children, they learn to explore their world, and enjoy the company of able bodied peers, who are delighted to have this opportunity to make new friends.
Farleigh also hosts a primary school choral workshop in the autumn term inviting over 60 children from local primary schools to join with members of Farleigh’s senior choir for an afternoon of song.
What benefits do you gain from the places and people in your wider community?
Miss Redmond, Head of Religious Studies, who runs the Icknield club, said “Our children are adept at imaginary play, role play and ensuring that the Icknield pupils enjoy a very special hour either in our grounds or the Sports Hall, dictated by the weather!
“Every session ends with the same routine, something which the Icknield children need to help them feel secure and build their confidence. Action songs followed by drinks and biscuits and the grand finale is Hokey Cokey and a signed version of, It’s Time to Finish Now.
“Christmas is celebrated with the traditional presents, Father Christmas and an Easter Egg Hunt ends the Spring term, when the children enjoy scouring the woods for their eggs! Both of these are eagerly anticipated by the children from both schools and watching our children’s delight as they help the Icknield pupils enjoy these special occasions is a very special moment.
“The benefits of such a club are both immediate and long-term, and over the years I know how many Farleigh pupils have benefitted from, and enjoyed the opportunity to be part of this activity. It is certainly one of the best things we offer to our children.”