William Patten Primary School is at the heart of its community. As such, the school values the support of families, its collaboration with community members and participation in local networks. We feel very lucky to have such valuable community engagement, as well as access to a wide range of community resources. We are also very grateful to be able to draw from the expertise and experience of local community members.
At William Patten, we are always looking for new local drives and networks which enhance our provision for the benefit of our pupils and families. These also enable us to enrich our curriculum and the experiences of our children. In 2016, the school became a partner of the Museum of the Home in Shoreditch. This has realised numerous opportunities, including history workshops led by the outreach team, to provide experiences that enrich the school’s programme of study and children’s historical enquiry skills. This collaboration enabled a week-long ‘museum in residence’ in the top hall, during which the children could handle a variety of artefacts from the museum as part of a local heritage project. The school is proud of its rich history, as well as the history of the locality. As a result of our work in this area, we are a recognised English Heritage ‘Heritage School’, which has enabled us to benefit from and contribute to national DfE funded educational support programmes – https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/in-your-area/london/stoke-newington-school-heritage-project/. We are also lucky enough to have continued communication with a number of the school’s former pupils, who have been willing to share their experiences and memories of their time at the school. As a result, children have learnt about evacuation during the war, and even what it was like at William Patten (then Church Street School) in the 1920s! (See https://vimeo.com/275887752).
William Patten Primary School, is a specialist school within the London North East Maths Hub. This ensures continuing access to quality training on the most recent pedagogies which relate to the teaching of mathematics. The school itself is a specialist school in this network, and representatives from a number of local schools regularly visit William Patten to inform the development of maths teaching in their own settings. The school is also in the process of becoming a Hub school for the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC), which will see it mentor and support other schools (nationally, as well as locally) to develop their provision for learning outside the classroom. Our continuing link with Trees for Cities, is also enabling wider use of our edible playground and rooftop garden facilities. This partnership is enabling the children to learn practically about planting, growing and harvesting, as well as sustainable living. Beyond this, we are also very pleased to have been allocated a plot of land by the Kynaston Gardens local volunteer group, which provides the means for children to maintain and take ownership of a much valued local space. The school is active in seeking opportunities to develop the interests of children, as well as their awareness of others, to promote good citizenship. The school has a link with a local Islamic Faith school, which is facilitated by the Faith and Belief Forum. This collaboration enables classes at William Patten and the Olive School in Hackney to participate in link days. Link days include live and remote visits, which enable the children in both settings to recognise similarities and differences in their beliefs and settings, and also to foster a deep sense of mutual respect. The school is looking forward to developing its collaboration with the Faith and Belief forum, and to the prospect of linking to a second faith school later in the school year.
The school is currently part of the Wellbeing and Mental Health in Schools (WAMHS) project – an initiative led by the child and adolescent mental health services (CAHMS), with the support of the Children and Young People’s Integrated Commissioning work stream in City & Hackney. This innovative project aims to improve mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people in schools and education settings in City & Hackney. Our involvement celebrates the importance that the school places on our children’s and families’ mental health and wellbeing and we are able to run specialist workshops for parents and carers as a result.
Local and wider community links also provide the means for valued learning experiences, and we are very grateful for the opportunities that our parents and carers support us to realise. For example, following a parent introduction, the school was able to plan a whole school dance project with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. The success of this led to the school ‘s involvement in the anniversary celebrations of the charity in 2018. During this, the whole school (Nursery to Year 6) performed an interpretation of Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella at Sadlers Wells Theatre. Opportunities such as these provide an insight into a range of career opportunities for the children and help to broaden their horizons. A number of children who took part in the project, were recently invited to join the recently establish ‘Cygnet School’ to continue their professional dance training https://new-adventures.net/news/new-adventures-talent-development-pilot-cygnet-school-has-launched-this-week. We are very proud of the progress these former students are making and also for the longer-term possibilities that this venture provides.
We welcome opportunities to collaborate with parents with specialist skills and those who themselves work in specific fields. As a result, we are lucky to be able to provide children with insight into a range of careers, and have been able to develop longer term outcomes through engaging and focused curriculum projects with members of our community. We are grateful as well to the many parents and carers who regularly support language of the month by providing recordings of key words and greetings in their home language, which enables the school as a whole to develop a love of languages. Our work with a parent who is involved in the Jinja Deaf Charity, also enabled us to establish and maintain a long-term partnership with a school in the Jinja region of Uganda. This is now the focus of our KS1 geography study of a contrasting non-European locality. The contribution and collaboration of our families, including at events such as Tastes of the World (where the whole school samples home cooked dishes from around the world) have resulted in recognition from national and international agencies, including the educational department of the Spanish Embassy and the British Council, who have honoured the school with its ‘International School Award’.
We are keen to make full use of community resources, including Clissold Park (for sports day, and the garden classroom) and Abney Park. As part of the restoration of the Abney Park Chapel, children in Year 4 are involved in a schools’ project that will realise the design of a new stained glass window. Engagement with local community resources, such as these, enable cross curricular links between, for example, geography, history and art. We have also welcomed scientists from Moorfields Eye Hospital and have contributed to ground breaking sight related research in the past. More recently, we have welcomed STEM ambassadors from the local community, who have contributed to the school’s achievement of the Gilt level of the Primary Science Quality Mark.
The school works closely with a range of teacher training providers, as part of its wider commitment to outstanding teaching and learning. As a result of strong links with Stoke Newington Literary Festival, William Patten is a host venue for the annual event. Through this, children are provided with access to positive role models from the field of literature and illustration. We are also very proud of the support that we are able to offer to specialist organisations within the community, such as the Hackney Winter Night Shelter. Our families also donate food to local foodbanks and the Spitalfields Crypt Trust, which raises children’s awareness of others, as well as a shared community responsibility to helping others. Community links and partnerships, including those with local schools, enable the school to develop wider themes across the William Patten Curriculum. These include international awareness, current affairs, and global (as well as local) citizenship.