Shared learning in East Antrim – all aboard!
Apex recently funded a shared education trip enabling pupils from Thornfield House School in Jordanstown and St Nicholas’ Primary School in Carrickfergus to build friendships and learn from each other on a day trip to Carnfunnock Country Park.
As part of the Together Building United Communities Housing for All programme, Apex offers funding to schools towards projects that promote community cohesion.
Thornfield House is a regional school specialised in addressing specific language impairment; whilst St Nicholas’ is a Catholic Maintained Primary School catering for all pupils.
During their trip to Carnfunnock, pupils sang and signed a song together using Paget Gorman Signed Speech, which is used in Thornfield House School to aid communication. Pupils also took part in an ‘I-spy’ treasure hunt, where they explored the environment using Cued Articulation signs so that everyone could join in the learning on an equal footing.
Lyn Bruton, Vice Principal of Thornfield House School, explains how the two schools partnered up:
Our school has been working in partnership with St Nicholas’ Primary School since September 2017. At first, teachers met to share practice and pupils communicated using an online conferencing tool. We soon learned from the pupils that they wanted to meet in ‘real life’, but the cost of transport between the two schools was the barrier for us.
This funding from Apex allowed us to hire buses that could take all of our P1 to P3 children to Carnfunnock. We chose the youngest children in the school as they would have the best chance to develop their friendships over the coming years. The children got to meet each other, have fun together on the bouncy castle, share a miniature train trip and share a picnic together. We also divided the children into mixed groups and went on an I-spy treasure hunt.
The children really enjoyed their day which was confirmed by the fact that at least half the bus was asleep on the way home! We would like to thank Apex for making this experience of sharing and learning together possible.
Rachael Power from Apex Housing Association commented:
It was a pleasure to support the work of two schools that have shown such enthusiasm for shared learning. It’s clear that the children taking part really enjoyed the trip and we are delighted that our support is helping to build unique friendships that will hopefully continue to blossom in the years to come.