The Linking Network

The Linking Network

The Linking Network  is a community of locally led linking programmes operating across England, supporting schools and their communities to develop a positive and cohesive ethos. They do this by exploring identity, celebrating diversity, promoting community and championing equality. There are currently 29 linking programmes in the Network reaching over 27,000 children.

The Linking Network works with primary, secondary and special schools in localities that have been identified as having segregated communities. Through a carefully planned and research-led approach, underpinned by Social Contact Theory, the network supports teachers to facilitate meaningful and positive sustained social mixing.

The programme operates through a year-long programme of structured exchanges for paired classes, and curriculum work equips learners with the skills, confidence and knowledge to thrive in modern Britain.  The network’s training enables teachers to support their learners to develop trust, empathy, awareness and respect. Tried and tested resources are employed in the classroom and the resulting work is exchanged between the pairs of schools. Through-out the linking year ongoing curriculum work on the themes of identity, diversity, community and equality is exchanged.  Opportunities for dialogue, critical reflection and positive attitudinal development are encouraged.

Students on a Linking Network visit.

Another group have helped produce coaching videos for socially distanced activities.

A young male teacher listening to a speech

Teacher engagement through The Linking Network

The programme is funded through investment by schools and local authorities and the Network funding from the Department for Education and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and core funding from Pears Foundation.

In addition to its schools linking programmes, The Linking Network provides a wealth of resources for teachers,including ideas around social action, it supports intergenerational linking, develops and delivers training to school leaders and teachers on SMSC, with a bank of SMSC reading, and more! A wealth of evaluation studies consistently show the value of the work and can be viewed here. To find out more about The Linking Network, visit their membership page here.