How have schools been maintaining their bonds with the local community during a very difficult and isolating year? We find out how a pandemic hasn’t stopped The King’s School and Sevenoaks School staying connected

A brother and sister team from Junior King’s has raised over £15,000 for the Evelina London Children’s Hospital

The Charity Commission suggests that The King’s School, Canterbury is the oldest charity in the country. King’s, and its prep school Junior King’s, are therefore very conscious of their duty to the wider community. The pandemic has made certain aspects of charitable fundraising difficult but the pupils have not let this hinder their dedication to raising money for both local and national causes over the past year. Indeed, the heightened awareness of the needs of others has brought about some innovative and praise-worthy initiatives from both schools.

At Junior King’s Year 7 pupil Luke and his younger sister Savannah have raised over £15,000 for the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which performed life-saving emergency heart surgery on Luke when he was just five days old. Together they have completed a 150-length sponsored swim, run numerous raffles at the local cricket ground, put on a quiz night, made and sold ceramic decorations and Mothers’ Day gifts, and more!

Pupils at King’s have equally raised thousands, both individually and as a collective, for a wide range of worthy causes including Suicide Prevention Charity Papyrus UK, the NHS, Farms for City Children, Hospice UK and Rising Sun, a Canterbury-based charity countering Domestic Violence and abuse in East Kent. Chair of the Charity Committee Millie Lark says: “The past year has been very disrupted for everyone, but as a school we have continued to make raising money for charities one of our main goals with a particular aim to support local causes so that we could help make a difference in our community.” /

2020/21 hasn’t hindered Sevenoaks School’s plans to strengthen its community bonds

Service and Partnerships are a hugely important part of a Sevenoaks education. Even in lockdown we have 400 students working virtually on 35 projects. These include conversation sessions with local Syrian refugees, knitting for the NHS, a Poetry Pharmacy and a Primary Schools’ Lego Club.
Throughout the pandemic, we have worked with local and global communities to identify needs and respond. Existing relationships have grown stronger, and new friendships have sprung up, building upon our historic commitment to service.

This includes working with the District Council and local groups, running collections, providing support for the elderly and creating mud kitchens to encourage local children to enjoy the outdoors. Our students have been at the heart of our response helping communities around the world, from delivering meals in Hong Kong to creating hampers for the elderly in Switzerland.

As part of our education we want to empower students, staff and the wider community to drive sustainable and inclusive social change whilst reflecting on the impact of everyday actions.
We have also shared best practice across the education sector, holding a nation-wide service conference, writing online courses to bring students from different schools together, running an online social leadership programme and our students have supported the creation of a series of Covid community support toolkits.

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