The Rural-Urban School Linking Pilot Project: A Case Study
Through the generous support of The Pears Foundation and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. the Rural-Urban School Linking Pilot Project was launched and managed by Diversity and Dialogue, a project of the Citizenship Foundation.
The idea of a rural-urban link was conceived because of a desire to enable students to: encounter and explore the differences in cultural and ethnic diversity that exist between rural and urban communities in contemporary Britain and engage with the diversity of lifestyles and perspectives that exists across a broad spectrum of young people in the UK today.
The Rural-Urban School Linking Pilot Project linked together two groups of Key Stage 3 (Year 8) students from Tom Hood Science College in Leytonstone, East London and Sir James Smith's Community School in Camelford, Cornwall.
This project consisted of preparation for the exchanges and in-school preparatory activities at the two schools from January – June 2008 (including the students’ production of video diaries which they then shared with each other prior to the exchanges), and two 4-5 day exchanges to the students’ respective communities (one to London from 23-26 June 2008 and one to Cornwall from 14- 18 July 2008).
Through such a cumulative process, this pilot project engaged the students with the questions of, 'Who am I?', 'Who are you?', 'Who are we?', 'Who do we want to be?' and 'What sort of world do we want to live in?'
By first examining their own personal identities, and then having the opportunity to increase their understanding of the different lifestyles and environments of their partner school through first-hand experience, the students deepened their knowledge and respect for diversity and broadened their shared sense of what it means to live together in active and dynamic communities in the UK today.