Since 2016 we have been working closely with Shaldon Primary School. We matched each pupil in Class Six with one of our clients and they started writing to each other. As they wrote and received more letters there were more and more requests to meet each other, so a series of events was put on throughout the school year:
- A violin concert and Christmas party
- A Reminiscence Session
- Portrait making
- Clay tile making
- A croquet and cream tea afternoon
Some wonderful friendships were started from this and some continue even now that the pupils have moved onto their secondary schools.
Shaldon School and VIH have been asked to speak about the project at conferences in Exeter, Wells, and Birmingham this year, where other schools hope to start similar projects. We have also been to speak with other groups in Totnes, Newton Abbot, and on Hear and Now, the Talking Newspaper.
Shaldon School has won The Speaker’s School Councils Award – one of just four Awards given across the whole of the UK each year – and were invited to parliament to collect this in September 2017. Three of the pupils came to speak about the project at our AGM in September 2017.
In June 2018, Shaldon Primary School was also shortlisted for Primary School of the Year in the TES school awards. The nomination included much of our pen pal work!
We will be continuing the project with a new group of Year 6 pupils in the next academic year and look forward to watching more friendships develop across the generations.
If you would like to know more about the project, would like to set up something similar or be involved in what we are doing, please contact Chloe on 01626 771695.