Sevenoaks School shortlisted for two TES Independent School Awards 2021  

Sevenoaks School has been shortlisted for the Whole-school community initiative of the year award for its response to the Covid-19 crisis and for the Strategic education initiative of the year award for the work of its Institute of Service and Social Impact (ISSI).

The most outstanding institutions that the independent sector has to offer have been recognised in the shortlist for the 2021 Tes Independent School Awards.

Jesse Elzinga, Headmaster at Sevenoaks School said: ‘We are delighted to have been shortlisted for these highly prestigious Tes Awards. Throughout the pandemic, Sevenoaks School has worked with local and global communities to identify needs and respond. Existing relationships have grown stronger, and new friendships have developed, building upon our historic commitment to service.

‘We have worked closely with the District Council and local groups in Sevenoaks, running collections, providing support for the elderly and creating mud kitchens to encourage local children to enjoy the outdoors. Our students have been at the heart of our response helping communities around the world, from delivering meals in Hong Kong to creating hampers for the elderly in Switzerland.

‘Service is a hugely important part of a Sevenoaks education and we were determined to move our service programme of 400 students online. Thirty-five projects such as conversation sessions with local Syrians continued virtually and we established new projects including Knitting for the NHS, Poetry Pharmacy and Primary Schools’ Lego Club.’

Cat Davison, Director of the Institute of Service and Social Impact at Sevenoaks, said: ‘As part of our education we want to empower students, staff and the wider community with the knowledge and skills to drive sustainable and inclusive social change whilst reflecting on the impact of everyday actions. The ISSI has focused on developing understanding and offering practical insight, which includes creating Society and Change, a service-learning course for our youngest students.

‘We have shared best practice across the education sector, holding a nationwide service conference, running a Kent-wide online social leadership programme, co-creating STEM and literacy programmes delivered by local volunteers in rural Ghana, and our students have supported the creation of a series of Covid community support toolkits.

‘My memories of lockdown will always be centred on the incredible initiative and thoughtfulness shown by students across all years in the school, and their desire to learn more about informed and inclusive community action. The staff volunteer team has been motivated by the huge level of local support for our Covid community response, and our lives have been transformed by the relationships grown and strengthened with people across our local community, and in the global context, during this period.’

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