SJL in the Community
At SJL we pride ourselves on being an outstanding school with people at the heart and where the sense of community is strong. From the first month at school with our Prefects Picnic for the new year 7 students and their families, to the charity work across the years, students are encouraged to become involved in a variety of events that benefit both the school and our wider community. For us our community is not limited to local areas; our vision is local, national, global and this is reflected in the various work that we do.
In the local community a number of our Sixth Form students regularly visit homes for Senior Citizens and the disabled on a voluntary basis. At Christmas this year our Sixth Formers went carol singing at local homes and raised money for Keech Cottage Hospice singing carols in the snow outside Sainsbury's. The Christmas Carol concert at All Saints Church is an annual event and there is always a special performance on the Thursday afternoon for Senior Citizens.
The Music faculty contributes greatly to the local community and may often be found supporting at local events, holding a concert in town or playing at one of our local primary school’s Summer Fayres.
The Harpenden Village Rotary Club has supported the school for a number of years. Their annual School Leavers Award dinner is a great occasion when students from each of the three local schools are recognised for their ‘Service Before Self’. Over the years Rotary members have also supported Sixth Formers by offering interview practice before they go on university visits.
All year 12 students are also entered for the Perrins essay writing prize sponsored by Perrins Solicitors, Harpenden.
Our excellent facilities also mean we are able to host a number of sports fixtures and this enables us to continue to support our students during and beyond the school day. Our Young Enterprise team have run primary school Sports Days and events for students in the lower years.
As a training school we have many opportunities to share our teaching expertise with other teachers from around the country. This year teachers will be travelling far and wide to discover good practice from other schools so we can incorporate new ideas into our already innovative practice. We recognise that within SJL we are all learners and there are always ways to improve.
We are very lucky to have built a great partnership in the last two years with Danish schools. We have been visited by a number of Danish educationalists and some of our staff have visited Denmark to see the work in their schools.
Within the curriculum the Modern Foreign Languages’ Pen Friend scheme encourages our younger students to make friends that extend beyond our geographical boarders. Combined with opportunities for educational visits these often are the beginning of long-term friendships that enrich the lives of our students.
International travel opportunities continue to be part of the enrichment programme for out students. Our close links with Ndeke High School in Zambia have allowed students from both countries to visit each other and learn about school life.
The USA exchange for year 12 students is another part of our school experience that encourages students to learn from our global neighbours.
On all levels we encourage our students to develop a community spirit as encapsulated in our Sir John Lawes ACE: Achievement Care and Excellence.
Each year the students undertake a number of fundraising activities from fashion shows to car washing. We encourage the students to bring forward ideas for charity work that they feel strongly about so we can focus our efforts on causes that have real meaning for them.
It is heart warming to know we have so many mature and thoughtful young people who have the drive and selflessness to do something for others.
National global learning programme
Expert Centre for Global Learning Programme
We are delighted that Sir John Lawes has been chosen to become an Expert Centre for the new Global Learning Programme (GLP) for England. The GLP is a programme of support for schools that can help enhance teaching and learning about global issues at Key Stages 2 and 3. It has six core aims:
- To help young people understand their role in a globally-interdependent world and explore strategies by which they can make it more just and sustainable;
- To familiarise them with concepts of interdependence, development, globalisation and sustainability;
- To move them from a charity mentality to a social justice mentality;
- To stimulate critical thinking about global issues both at a whole school and at pupil level;
- To promote greater awareness of poverty and sustainability;
- To enable schools to explore alternative models of development and sustainability in the classroom.
The GLP focuses on developing pupil’s knowledge and understanding of global challenges through subject-based learning in key curriculum areas. It helps pupils to think critically about the issues, and develop skills and values as they consider actions that they and others can take to overcome them.
As an Expert Centre, Sir John Lawes is acting as a hub to provide local, peer-led training and support for teachers in our partner schools. This will involve hosting half-termly support meetings to help them to identify each school’s particular training priorities and access the most appropriate professional development through the GLP website to meet their needs.
The Global Learning Programme is funded by the Department for International Development and is managed by a consortium of leading global learning and educational organisations: Pearson (lead), Geographical Association, Institute of Education, Oxfam UK, Royal Geographical Society, SSAT and Think Global. The programme runs from 2013 to 2017.
Sir John Lawes has been hugely involved in implementing sustainable practices within the local community and was a driving force behind Harpenden town achieving Fairtrade status. We also lead a programme of sustainability themed outreach assemblies to local primary schools on issues such as waste and climate change.
We initiated and lead the St Albans District Sustainable Schools Ambassadors Programme and host the training programme for student ambassadors from across the district. These students then lead in developing the sustainability programmes and initiatives in their own schools – thus the work done by our students and staff directly impacts in a positive way on thousands of students across the district.
Other links between SJL, sustainability and the local community include:
- The Science department work with Glaxo and Rothamstead research station to develop the use of our school garden for primary school children to study ecology.
- The Design and Technology department recycle aluminium, timber and man-made boards to use in practical work and has links with local industry to collect off-cuts of materials for classwork.
- We participate in the annual tree planting events run for local schools at Heartwood Forest.
We have used our website to inform and promote ideas of sustainability and responsibility to the wider community and parents are encouraged to be actively involved. Parents with related expertise have been involved by coming in to talk to students, hosting oversees guests, fundraising and coming up with ideas for ESD activities.