Monkton proud to receive BSA Award for community-based initiatives

Monkton proud to receive BSA Award for community-based initiatives
Whole School Awards

We are incredibly proud to have been announced as the winner of the Best Community work via BSA 'On Board' initiative award at last night's annual Boarding School Association (BSA) Awards.

These awards celebrate the achievements, hard work, and dedication of schools and individuals to boarding and this year they were more competitive than ever with close to 200 submissions received.

Our award was judged on the community-based initiatives undertaken by the school in the past year, led by our Head of Partnerships Esther Youlten with the support of numerous staff and pupils from across the school. Our full nomination, shown below, highlights all of the initiatives that have benefited our community and led to this award.

Thinking differently and creatively about lockdown has been exciting and has led us into some new adventures here at Monkton. At first, our efforts were around supporting local partners as best we could within the restrictions, producing and distributing vast amounts of PPE, delivering a six week outdoor rowing experience for groups of year 5 and 6 children at our nearest primary school, sharing our in-house first aid training with key local staff, and developing our partnership with A Rocha, a conservation organisation working with us to develop the site more intentionally to meet conservation goals. 

As the months went by, we began seeking new ways to engage with our local community, building relationships and links and specifically looking at how to tackle isolation. Over Christmas, every pupil at Monkton was given the opportunity to write at least one, but in many cases more, handwritten letters to members of the Monkton community who were over the age of 80, reaching out and sharing something of their life and experience. 

In the new year we developed a series of child-led cooking video tutorials, together with recipe cards and packs of ingredients to be distributed weekly to families struggling to make ends meet. The idea of this was to develop a network of local mums from different backgrounds, all looking to provide something creative and confidence-building for their children, and all on a level playing field. Our team of Graduate Teaching Assistants raised all the funds needed to support this initiative by running a mile an hour for 24 hours through the snow one weekend, donating all their sponsorship money to this effort. Alongside this we developed Lockrock, a virtual band competition, and a series of art tutorial videos, along with packs of supplies and instructions, to share with the Bath Youth Offending Service as a way of supporting their valuable work with young people at this challenging time. Through collaboration and discussion, we are refining this provision, developing the initiative and using feedback to constantly learn and improve. We see this initiative as the first step in a growing, long term partnership relationship. 

A further area of focus for us as a school has been the development of our pupil led Giving Committee. Through this group, we have held a wide range of fundraising initiatives and events. We challenged a member of staff to sleep out in an ice igloo he made with pupils during the snow and he raised over £700 for Genesis Trust, a local charity that has become one of our key partners. Over half term we ran a school-wide virtual 100 mile Alps crossing which involved over 150 pupils, parents and staff in sponsored running, raising over £3000. Other highlights have been a World Book Day appeal to help stock the library of one of our local partner schools, a pupil virtual pancake flipping event, a paper plane competition for Children in Need and Women's Day inspired pupil campaign to support the Hive, a project in Tanzania.


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