At Sissinghurst Primary we strongly believe in community: our own school community but also the part we as a school play in the wider, local community. There are many mutual benefits of working with these groups and the opportunities it can provide for the children.
We have strong and frequent links with Trinity Church in Sissinghurst.
Rev Pete often joins Mrs Langton for Collective Worship via Zoom.
Friends of Sissinghurst School (FOSS)
Who are the Friends of Sissinghurst School (FOSS)?
We are incredibly fortunate to have an active PTFA (FOSS) which embodies the very essence of Sissinghurst Primary – an inclusive, friendly and dynamic group committed to supporting the school, its pupils and their families. FOSS provide a varied programme of events which as well raising funds, bring the school and wider community together. In its time FOSS have raised tens of thousands of pounds which have been spent on equipment and resources to enrich the children’s learning experience. Their fundraising makes a distinctive contribution, enabling the purchase of extra items which are not included in school budgets but which greatly enhance school life.
How do they do it?
Like most PTFAs, the majority of funds are raised through the events that FOSS run: discos, the Christmas Fayre, film nights, a children’s Christmas shopping day, quiz night, a mother’s day pamper evening, the May Fair, and the weekly produce stall amongst others.
What is it spent on?
This year FOSS have raised funds, and successfully bid and won a grant of £5000 from Tesco, for the school’s outdoor gym which has proved a huge hit with the children. They’ve also bought tablets, created the most wonderful reading space for KS1 children, with funds allocated to replicate this for KS2 children. They’ve paid for coaches for a whole school outing and made a significant contribution towards the school’s first Arts Week. This is addition to the many smaller projects that they have donated to.
How you can get involved?
There are lots of ways you can help and support FOSS. You can join the committee or become a class rep, but offering to help on a more casual basis before events or at other times during the year is so valuable. It doesn’t matter if you can’t help on a regular basis, or even if you cannot come into school. There are always jobs that can be done from home if you have half an hour to spare. FOSS really couldn’t achieve what they do without the behind the scenes help they receive. Every PTFA relies on its helpers, the more you volunteer, the more the school and the children will benefit.
It goes without saying…
FOSS is about more than simply fundraising. It also exists to provide closer links between home and school and is an excellent way to bring staff, parents and friends together socially, working towards a common goal. The efforts of FOSS are greatly appreciated by all – the children, parents, Headteacher, Governors and members of staff alike.
Sissinghurst VA Church of England Primary School is linked with Boma School, Kasungu, Malawi. The link has been facilitated by the organisation ‘Starfish Malawi’. The aim of the link is not charity but global education:
‘To motivate our pupils’ commitment to a fairer, more sustainable world.’
The Department for International Development (DIFD) supports partnerships that promote global education through the curriculum. They provide guidance for teachers and grants for reciprocal visits. In 2011 Sissinghurst obtained just such a grant from the British Council which allowed Ruth Phiri, Deputy Headteacher of Boma School to visit Sissinghurst in June 2012 and for me, Headteacher of Sissinghurst to visit Malawi in October 2012. Reciprocal visits have continued with Mrs Delorie, Malawi Link Co-ordinator and Classroom Teacher, visiting Boma School in October 2014 followed by Foster Amose Headteacher of Boma School, visit to Sissinghurst in May 2015.
Foster Amose visited London and watched the ‘Trooping of the Colours’ and was privileged to see the Queen and baby George. On Sunday he went to Bodiam Castle and learned about some of our rich heritage and on Tuesday he went to Hastings and saw the sea for the first time in his life! In between these visits he has taught year six about deforestation, held Q&A sessions with all six classes and observed a variety of lessons and clubs. He has eaten in the dinner hall with the children, attended all assemblies and contributed to one of them with his insightful reflections about ‘Peace’. He will return to Malawi with new ideas to share but we are also all the richer from the experience of his visit.
Foster Amose commented “Everyone is so kind, friendly and welcoming. I am overwhelmed by my experiences and the stories I will tell on my return to Malawi”
Despite the fact that there is no longer funding for reciprocal visits, our link remains strong. We now communicate via WhatsApp!
A study by NFER on behalf of DIFD has shown that involvement in the Global Schools Partnership Programme has a significant positive effect on the awareness, attitudes and responses of pupils about global issues.
It is our intention that through this link we will ‘open the eyes’ of our pupils in an area of the country where there is little ethnic diversity. We are currently embedding global issues into our long term planning and we are teaching about sustainable development through ‘Eco-schools’ projects. Development of the link with Boma School is part of the School Development Plan and part of the Christian ethos of our school.
We believe that Reciprocal visits are a very important aspect of the partnership; therefore we will be applying for a further ‘Connecting Classrooms’ grant as they become available.
Once you see the conditions in which the children of Malawi learn, you cannot help but want to improve the facilities for them. Therefore, we do try to raise some money each year through fund-raising so that we may send writing equipment, books and paper to Boma School in a container. The money raised through ‘bags to school’ is used for this purpose.
If you would like to find out more about the work of Starfish Malawi, follow the links below.