14 June 2022

Service and Partnerships Conference

Eighty teachers from schools across the country joined us to discuss this question at our Service and Partnerships Conference on 7 June.

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‘How can we best involve students in sustainable and inclusive school and community partnerships work?’

Eighty teachers from schools across the country joined us to discuss this question at our Service and Partnerships Conference on 7 June.

Jesse Elzinga, Headmaster of Sevenoaks School, opened the conference by outlining the school’s commitment to service and partnerships, reminding us of William Sevenoke’s founding vision for the school in 1432.

He was followed by Jon Alexander, author of Citizens, who explained the value of shifting the story of the individual from ‘consumer’ to ‘citizen’, inspiring teachers to help bring about this change in their schools.

Cat Davison, Director of Service and Partnerships at Sevenoaks, offered some practical strategies for bringing students and teachers from different schools together, applying critical thinking and building students’ independence. 

Sevenoaks students Gajan Sivayogan and Andrea Olsen also shared their thoughts, highlighting the benefits of giving students choices in partnerships engagement, therefore building a sense of ownership in projects. 

The conference delegates then joined break-out groups, exploring primary school, secondary school, community and global partnerships; environmental sustainability education; social entrepreneurship education; monitoring and evaluation; embedding reflection and curriculum development.

These groups were led by teachers from the Schools Community Action network, who shared examples of practice such as Wellington College’s ‘Big Gold Box’ project (which connects students with the experiences of people across the world); Brighton College’s longstanding work with the local Syrian community; and Sevenoaks School’s development of the school allotment with the student Green Team.

A particular mention goes to the Sevenoaks School student speakers: Aadit Mital, who presented on the school’s student-led Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, and both Anna Tarasheva and Delaney Kim, who led a discussion of the EduLit project in partnership with EduSpots. 

By bringing like-minded teachers together for collaborative learning opportunities, we can continue to help make positive advances in this area of education for our students’ and society’s benefit. Many participants left commenting that they felt inspired and reinvigorated – with one saying: ’Collaboration is the secret weapon for success; no one has all the answers!’

Thank you to all involved with making this event a great success.

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