The Twickenham and Goonhavern Learning Away partnership is made up of two schools – Goonhavern Primary, located in the rural coastal setting of Cornwall, and Twickenham Primary, located in a suburb in North Birmingham.
The main aim of their school exchange residentials is to enable children from the two very different areas and backgrounds to experience contrasting locations and cultures.
During the Autumn term, 30 Year 6 children from Goonhavern Primary School visit Birmingham for a five day/four night residential. In the following Summer term, 32 Year 5/6 children from Twickenham Primary School visit Cornwall, camping for four nights at a campsite within walking distance of Goonhavern School.
After four years of completing this programme, the benefits for both the children and staff have been undeniable. The residentials have become part of the culture within both schools and the aim is to continue with the programme for the foreseeable future. In an attempt to sustain this project long term, both schools have looked at different ways of funding their Learning Away residentials, drawing on a range of resources. Due to the different socio-economic status of both schools they have taken slightly different approaches.
Twickenham Primary School
Parents from both schools have always made a small contribution of £60 towards the cost of their child’s residential. The remaining cost was subsidised through Pupil Premium (and initially PHF Learning Away funding). Due to the poor socio-economic status of many of the children who attend Twickenham School (where a large proportion are eligible for Pupil Premium), it was felt that increasing parental contributions, once the initial PHF Learning Away funding had ended, would deter parents from allowing their children to attend the residential. As a result the parental contributions have stayed the same. In order to support parents who still struggle to pay the school operates a payment saving scheme that lets parents spread the cost through the year. Parents are given a payment saving card (see below) and are encouraged to pay a small weekly amount. They can then use this towards the cost of any educational visit (not just the Cornwall residential).
Fundraising within school
Children and staff at Twickenham Primary School have successfully organised a variety of fundraising events. These have included cake sales, sponsored penalty shoot-outs and non-uniform days. Involving children in the fundraising process has given them a sense of ownership of the Learning Away programme and has helped them to understand why fundraising is so important. A future plan is to extend the fundraising to the wider local community, in order to help improve community cohesion and engage more parents.
Goonhavern Primary School
Having sought parental views, it was decided that parents from Goonhavern Primary School would contribute £120 towards the costs of the residential. Both the school and the parents still feel this represents value for money.
Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Goonhavern have a strong, well established PTA. They work closely with the pupils in Year 5 to raise funds for their residential in Year 6, on a variety of fundraising events including coffee and cake mornings. The PTA raises approximately £4,000 per year and it subsidises the costs of the residential for every child who attends. The PTA also provides a £1,000 fund to support the children of low income families, who could not afford the parental contribution.