Strengthening community ties through partnerships with girls’ schools

Strengthening community ties through partnerships with girls’ schools

Boys from QE picked up an existing pre-pandemic partnership with one girls’ school and staged a joint concert as part of their developing links with another.

Year 8 and Year 10 pupils from QE met their counterparts from The Henrietta Barnett School for debating – part of the well-established academic partnership between the two schools.

And QE Together – a recent initiative led by sixth-formers at QE and near-neighbour Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School – gained fresh momentum with the staging of the joint concert for residents at a nursing home.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “QE is very much part of the community and, as such, we value our local partnerships highly. Our academic links with HBS give our boys the chance to flex their intellectual muscles against their peers in activities such as debating, while the focus of our link with QEGS is on community action.

“In addition, both these connections offer our boys the opportunity to socialise and study with girls, thus better preparing them for university and careers.”

QE’s Head of Academic Enrichment, Nisha Mayer, said: “The Year 8s enjoyed an animated and enjoyable morning at HBS. They debated in mixed teams in breakout rooms before assembling for a grand final.”

Topics for the Year 8 event included ‘school strikes’ for climate change, and rich countries accepting more refugees.

The motion of the final debate – made up of the best debaters from both schools selected from the earlier sessions – was the prospect of extending the school day. “Unsurprisingly perhaps, the opposition won the debate, but the proposers certainly made an excellent case for making up time lost during the pandemic,” said Mrs Mayer.

Year 10 QE boys travelled to HBS for a preparatory workshop for their debates, which included agreeing on the motions to be discussed. The girls then came to QE for the debates themselves, with the final held in the new Friends’ Recital Hall.

For QE Together, a concert took place at Barnet’s Abbey Ravenscroft Park Nursing Home, involving musicians from both QE and QEGS.

Organised by QE Vice-Captain Dylan Domb, of Year 12, who is a regular voluntary helper at the home, the lunchtime event included music for clarinet played by the girls and songs sung by QE’s TTBB Vocal Group.

QE musician and fellow Vice-Captain Jao-Yong Tsai, of Year 12, said: “QE Together is aiming to foster greater connections with all aspects of the local community, and the presentation of a charity concert at a nursing home within walking distance of both schools was a strong illustration of such goals.

“Students at both schools have long enjoyed volunteering locally, and integrating the arts into both that and a project that brings the two schools together is but the beginning of a growing relationship with people in the local area.”

QE Together has plans for further events, including a Big Litter Pick.