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Penpal project for the UK?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by penpalproject, Jul 9, 2017.


Would you volunteer your class for a UK-based pen-pal project?

  1. Yes

    2 vote(s)
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  3. Not sure

    0 vote(s)
  1. penpalproject

    penpalproject New commenter

    Hello all,

    I joined this forum to canvas the opinion of primary school teachers for a project I'm thinking of developing. I'm a graduate in her 20s who has worked and volunteered across the UK charity sector over the last few years. I would like to start a pen-pal scheme that links schools within the UK up to each other. I'm aware that individual schools approach each other here (for example) if they're looking for other schools to connect with, but I'm wondering if a single project is needed that can cater to schools who would like to establish pen-pal projects with others in the UK.

    My motivation behind this comes from the idea that many people in England (where I'm from - I can't speak for Scotland, Wales and NI) don't know what it's like to live somewhere different from where they are in their own country. This is a relatively normal and natural thing of course, but personally I think it's having a detrimental effect on the nation at large. Whilst most places in the UK are warm, inclusive communities, it feels this is at times under threat by ever-growing divides and attacks between communities that differ culturally, politically and socio-economically.

    Pen-pal schemes tend to be to develop foreign language skills and friendships in different countries, but I believe it's now necessary to foster friendships and understanding within the UK from as early an age as possible. For want of some better examples, I think it would be great if a child in a large city knew what it was like to be one in a rural village, or working farm, or industrial town, and understand how their lives were different but part of the same national fabric. Or a child from one cultural or religious community to realise they have their favourite football team or music act in common with another.

    What I would love to know from you is whether this idea has legs.

    Do you feel your pupils would benefit from a written-communication-based friendship with someone who was from a different background, and potentially lives a different life, but lives in the same country?

    Do you think your pupils would be motivated to write a letter once a month to someone in another UK town/city or is this superfluous to your work?

    Is my hypothesis way off base? Do you feel schools are already able to do this if they feel the need to, and don't need to do it under a branded or centralised project based solely on the UK?

    Thanks so much for any feedback you have to offer. I've tried looking to see if this kind of thing already exists but it doesn't appear to be so. I'm someone who only learnt about life outside her hometown at university and I really do feel I could have benefitted from that exposure more early on. Let me know what you think.

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