Oakwell Rise Primary Academy works in strong partnership with the community to develop the education, provision and opportunities available to pupils, parents/carers, families and the wider community.

Location: Barnsley, South Yorkshire

The school are passionate about ensuring the school is the heart of the community. It works in partnership with many other organisations such as Fare Share offering free food prior to the weekend, food parcels for holidays such as 70 Christmas dinner parcels given out alongside a free present shop for families to collect new gifts to ensure the children open a present from Santa on Christmas morning. All children have free access to a Breakfast Club supported by Magic Breakfast. Staff provide a range of activities to settle and widen the children’s experiences such as computer skills, sport, construction and homework support.

The school has developed a key space within the building called the ‘Community Den’. Within the Den, parents/carers have access to a kitchen with cooking and washing machine facilities. The Oakwell Rise staff are trained, via the Jamie Oliver cookery school, to offer cooking lessons for parents alongside their children. This base also enables the community to partake in accredited adult literacy, accredited numeracy, accredited money management courses as well as CPR and life-saving skills in partnership with Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

The community can also attend a gardening club to its members, working on skills to help the local environment that will benefit the wider community. The dedicated Family Support Worker runs other key ‘stay and play’ sessions for members of the school and the wider community, pamper sessions, a Well-being Wednesday and also a coffee morning for parents who have children with Special Educational Needs.

The school continues to develop their links to the community with outreach work, including visiting the local care home to work on small activities with its residents and taking part in the Junior Warden programme, working local partner’s including South Yorkshire Police. Through a team of volunteers, the school is the base of an evening Youth Club which has attendees from across the local area.

Oakwell Rise offers a range of Holiday Clubs for the community to attend, including a street art workshop to educate the community on graffiti and how it can be used for positive artistic expression rather than destroying the community areas and a youth club in the evenings.

Mrs Jessica Jenkins, Head of School, said:

The team at Oakwell Rise have been on a huge journey together to engage and excite the community in positive activity. We have seen a significant shift in engagement, appreciation and support from the community about the important work we do and the impact has been significant. Winning this award would mean so much to the team and to be recognised for work they love to do with families. This would empower and motivate them even more to impact even more families.