Paddock Junior, Infant and Nursery School is part of a triangle. HAZEL ETTIENNE takes a look at its success.
A HUDDERSFIELD school is extending the hand of friendship to children across Kirklees.
Exchange visits and educational links are enriching the lives of children who go to Paddock Junior, Infant and Nursery School.
The school has a vibrant mix of children from cultures and communities worldwide.
And it is building on this cultural wealth by sharing ideas and projects with pupils from other schools in the district.
“The personal and social education which children receive here is a real strength of the school,” said headteacher Richard Dodd.
“Our children are growing up and learning in a multi-cultural school and a multi-cultural society and we are giving them experiences which they will take with them throughout their lives.
“We have children from all over the world here; Poland, Argentina, Pakistan and African and Caribbean communities. But they all get on extremely well and enthuse about their experiences. These are the things I am most proud of.”
The school is part of the Lydgate Project, a ‘triangle’ of schools from a wide variety of communities who meet for a variety of tasks and activities.
Children from Paddock, Lydgate School in New Mill and Wooldale Junior School – all very different school communities – meet to share their ideas.
Project leader Chris Keogh said: “The project is all about bringing together children from very different communities and with different experiences.
“We have a very healthy and diverse mix of children here and we want to make this a positive learning experience for children so they can understand the differences between them.
“We want to help educate the children to understand and realise that we are all actually the same irrespective of differences of culture, community or background.”
Lewis Dunbar who took part in the project last year, said: “It was good fun. I’d been to Holmfirth before on bike rides with my family, but the Wooldale school has huge grounds.”
And Tabraiz Sajid, who also took part, said: “We made a lot of new friends. We did cooking and made musical instruments. It helped us understand how children live and go to school in places we may not have visited before.”
Sport is another way in which the school develops links within and outside the community.
The school has a strong cricketing tradition, but also has a wealth of sporting activities for pupils to get involved in. They include badminton, tennis, football, netball, trampolining, athletics, rounders and multi skills. Many are arranged as part of the schools sports partnership with nearby Royds Hall High.
Paddock continually strives to ensure that all the children in its community move smoothly educationally until completing their secondary education.
And with a children’s centre just next door which caters for families with children up the three years old and the high school just up the road the transition is a smooth one.
Indeed, Ofsted inspectors who visited last year praised the school for the strength of social cohesion and the way pupils develop a strong sense of community.