Every summer term, the Bradford Grammar School (BGS) sports fields are filled with the excited cheers of hundreds of happy children as local primary schools come together for the mini Brownlee Foundation Triathlon. The Brownlee Foundation events were set up by Alistair and Jonny, both former students at BGS, so they could give something back to the community.
Over the course of a long history, BGS has recognised that it has a responsibility to share its time, talents and wonderful resources, and the Brownlee triathlon is one small part of that. Matt Wilde, BGS’s Head of PE Outreach, also leads multisports coaching sessions at the school.
Pupils are encouraged to be active agents in the local community and have supported a range of other fundraising and community initiatives. Typically, 150 Year 12 students register with Vinspired, a UK volunteering charity, and complete more than 1,500 hours of volunteering between them.
A few more examples of BGS’s partnership and outreach work include:
- Weekly visits by its Year 7 pupils to Chellow Heights Special School to volunteer as classroom assistants, where they support teachers by playing with and reading to children.
- Manningham Youth Talks, in partnership with The Linking Network, has been supported by BGS since it was formed in 2009. It offers a space for young people to talk with each other and discuss current topics in a safe environment.
- Year 6 pupils at St Walburga’s RC Primary School undertake a Design and Technology project at BGS. There is no DT provision at St Walburga’s. The project, funded by BGS, has run for 11 years.
- The BGS PE & Games Department Outreach Project. This offers transport, facilities and expertise to local primary schools which often only have limited availability to these valuable resources.
- Paired reading schemes, where students go into schools such as Heaton Primary, St Cuthbert and The First Martyrs' Catholic Primary, to sit with pupils and listen to them read.
- Annual high-profile author visits, where authors will talk and take small group sessions for large numbers of Year 6 BGS children and many local primary schools.
- The Barnardo’s mentoring scheme, which was set up six years ago to help young carers in the Bradford area with schoolwork and homework. The young carers arrive every Thursday after school and are helped by a group of willing and able Year 13 students.
- A new partnership with Tim Rogers, a driving force behind Bradford Tech Week, will provide a fascinating insight into high-tech space industries in Yorkshire for local primary and secondary school pupils. (the school says it may even be launching rockets from the neatly clipped Governors’ Lawn – watch this space!).
While the school has missed having the sounds of visiting children for its annual mini Brownlee Triathlon for the past two years, with COVID restrictions finally lifting it is looking forward to resuming its regular partnership work.
Simon Hinchliffe, Headmaster at BGS, says: “For us, building and sustaining relationships remains part of our heritage and behaviour, bound to our identity and place within inner-city Bradford. Now, more than ever, there is an obligation to work together for the benefit of the young and through these partnerships and by widening access, we seek to become a good neighbour in Bradford for generations to come.”