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Pen Pal Project Scoops National Schools Award

Updated: Mar 21, 2019

We are so proud to announce that Shaldon Primary School has been recognised by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP in his Annual Speakers School Council Awards run by Parliament’s Education Service as the winner in the 8-11 age group category.

The award is in recognition of our ‘Pen Pals’ project, run in conjunction with local charity Volunteering in Health.  The project links pupils from Year 6 with senior members of the local community (who are on average 70 years older than the children.)  This has been a highlight of the year with genuine friendships across the generation being started and secured through regular letters and face to face meetings which the children have organised in school. These have included a violin and musical recitation which quickly turned into a party at Christmas, art afternoons in which the pupils and pen-pals created portraits of each other and made tiles of local scenes from sepia, to black and white to colour to represent the passing of time, a croquet and cream tea afternoon and the making of a shared history book.

There is no doubt that everyone involved in the project has seen how beneficial it has been. In fact, we were asked to talk about it on a radio programme for the visually impaired; we shared the ideas with another organisation hoping to replicate it and have shared it at national conferences in London, Birmingham and Exeter. 

Chloe Myers, Manager at Volunteering in Health “Congratulations to Shaldon Primary on this award and thank you for reaching out to our clients who have all really enjoyed writing to, and meeting the pupils and we hope this inspires other people to reach out to older people in their communities.”

As class teacher of this Year 6 class, Miss Gordge said “I am proud that the pupils will be leaving us with more empathy, tolerance and genuine interest in the stories people from different times and experiences have to share.”

Pupils and staff will be going to Parliament in September to receive the award from the speaker and will also have the rare opportunity to explore the Speaker’s Chambers in the House of Commons.  


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