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Muddy Stilettos' Best Schools Awards 2024 Finalist

We are so proud to announce that King's High is a Finalist in Muddy Stilettos' Best Schools Awards 2024 in the 'Giving Something Back' category.

Our flagship partnership with Evergreen School was forged with a view of becoming a national beacon for independent-state partnerships, with a specific focus on disability.

Evergreen School, a broad-spectrum special school for around 300 children with learning and/or physical disabilities, is located on two sites in Warwick.

One of the core aims of the partnership is to fill the gap in services for disabled children. Dramatic cuts in funding have resulted in hardship for families struggling to manage the care needs of their disabled children. This is particularly acute during school holidays.

We wanted to develop opportunities for our community of Changemakers at King's High – to be part of the lived experience of our students and for them to see the impact of their community work. For Evergreen, the chance to establish new opportunities in the community for their students, to enable their students to work with ours and to access our facilities were important objectives.

Fundamentally, our core objective was deeply ambitious: to establish a partnership model that could be adopted by other schools working in partnership with their local special school, and linked disability charities, to enable high impact on our local community and further afield. To work towards this, we began with the target to develop high-quality volunteering opportunities that would positively impact the lives of those volunteering and the students and families at Evergreen.

Our partnership began with our Friday Afternoon Activities Programme. Working with counterparts at Evergreen, we designed a Volunteering Course which introduced students to first aid, autism awareness, inclusive behaviours and communication skills. Our pupils visited Evergreen to develop relationships with staff and students, before embarking on regular work with a class group.

Our focus included holiday provision for Evergreen students to provide valuable respite opportunities for carers as well as life-enhancing experiences for the children. Our Holiday Action Programme opened 15 weekly places to Evergreen pupils, with a combination of Evergreen staff and King’s High students supporting the swimming classes, go-karting and craft activities.

The impact has been huge, both for the King’s High and Evergreen communities. It has transformed the lives of Evergreen families by providing vital respite through school holidays. It is also replicable, and the partnership model could be adopted in other schools nationally to enable holiday provision to develop throughout the country. In doing this, we will fill a significant gap in care provision for disabled children.