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Melton: School expands horizons with Raising the Bar visit to Grasmere Primary in Hackney

10:33 26 March 2014

Melton Primary School

Melton Primary School's visit to Hackney - meeting with Michael Desmond, the Speaker of Hackney

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A Suffolk primary school’s first steps towards forging new links with London as part of a county-wide improvement initiative has been hailed as a “fantastic success”.

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More than 60 pupils from Melton Primary visited their “link school” in Hackney last week using funding from Suffolk County Council’s Raising the Bar scheme. Schools in Suffolk and Hackney entered into the partnership last May as part of a raft of measures aimed at improving standards of education in recognition of the London borough’s excellent achievement record.

Nymone Da Costa-Jones, Melton’s acting deputy head, said the visit to Grasmere Primary had broadened horizons for pupils and teachers while paving the way for further exchanges between the two schools.

“It’s lifted barriers, removed the blinkers and given everyone an absolutely amazing experience,” she said.

“We were all exhausted by the end of the day but the smiles on the children’s faces made it all worth while.”

During their visit, the children were taken on a guided Town Hall tour by the Speaker of Hackney, Michael Desmond; visited the Hackney Museum to view the Grand Depart – a trophy commissioned to mark the Tour de France’s centenary; and haggled for bargains at the vibrant Ridley Road street market.

Ms Da Costa-Jones said the trip was a “fantastic experience” and had given a “real life context” to many of the pupils’ school projects.

The children also enjoyed their first face-to-face meeting with their penpals at Grasmere, while teachers from the two schools began forging links. “We’ve taken the first step, started to build that relationship, hopefully there will be a return visit and then we can see what we can plan together to share ideas and knowledge,” said Ms Da Costa-Jones.

Suffolk County Council has congratulated the school on its “proactive approach” with the Raising the Bar initiative.

“The visit will no doubt stimulate new thinking for pupils and teachers and encourage a firmer focus on achieving better educational results,” said Lisa Chambers, the council’s education chief. “Our partnership with Hackney is something which has already brought very positive results to pupils and their respective schools. We know that much can be achieved from closer working with them and that fresh ideas will come from partnerships like this.”

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