Claires Court wins the ISA Award for Outstanding Community Engagement 2023
Award Charity

We are delighted to announce that we have won the ISA National Award for Outstanding Community Engagement 2023!

There were many factors taken into account for the award including our continued support of the Ukrainian community, supplying Google Classroom and ChromeBooks to a local state primary school during the pandemic and offering a home to Maidenhead United Juniors and North Maidenhead Cricket Club.  The award is valued as the Independent Schools Association (ISA) is a well respected organisation representing over 650 UK independent schools with Head Teachers as lead members. 

The help for the Ukrainian community was coordinated through the Homes for Ukraine scheme alongside collaboration with local families with direct links to the country.  We were pleased and grateful to be able to offer an initial twenty school places for children who otherwise were not able to access education in their local area on arrival to the UK. 

Mr Wilding commented:

From April 2022 and for this last academic year, seventeen children have spent all three terms in school from Reception to Year 12,  successfully engaging both academically and socially.  It gives the school great pride that they are all now speaking, writing and even dreaming in English!

Google Classroom and ChromeBooks 

The school has a widely recognised expertise in the use of IT technologies in the classroom with recognition of being Google Educators, and, just as the pandemic struck, we were able to equip a local state primary school with 80+ ChromeBooks, sufficient to meet the needs of their Years 4 to 6.  We have continued our support for the school and a further sixty devices have been contributed by the Year 13 students ensuring all children from Year 1 - 6 are now fully equipped.

Rehoming Maidenhead United Junior Football section and North Maidenhead Cricket club

During lock down, both clubs were evicted from their long held premises, North Maidenhead Cricket Club being over 100 years old.  In 2022, we redesignated fields at our junior site as sports fields and as a consequence, 600+ local junior boys and girls aged 5 to 12 played their first full season of football on our playing fields last winter.  In the summer, this space was offered to the cricket club and expanded our support of other junior cricketers offering two squares for both weekends during this summer, again for the first time. 

Recreation and engagement with the redevelopment of the town centre through our waterways work.

Claires Court has supported the Maidenhead Waterways Restoration group (MW) since 2017, providing 600 hours in a week of voluntary activity, adopting the incoming canal into the town. In addition the school has been able to take over an Environment Agency office at Maidenhead Lock,  provide holiday activities teaching local children how to paddle safely, and also lend a courtesy home for the adult Paddleboard Maidenhead group, who can now provide seven days a week support on the river.  

Strategic Community Partnerships 

In concluding the submission, our focus was on how we support the Maidenhead & Berkshire Junior Chess club as well as other strategic community partnerships.

Aside from the social distancing period, the school has continued to assist and enlarge the development of Junior Chess running every Saturday in school including during the holidays. There are three teams in the Berkshire League and one team in the Thames Valley League, with coaching being offered from age five upwards. Claires Court staff take the lead initiative to ensure that no events are cancelled, and by the close of next year they will complete the development to cover the entire age range to 18.  Local business community partnership means the school shares facilities and works with sports clubs to aid their longer term development,  many of which have been extremely long standing partnership including Maidenhead Sailing Club, Maidenhead Rowing Club and  Phoenix Rugby & Cricket Club each having over 40 years of collaboration with Boyne Hill Cricket Club at 6 years.  These partnerships reach a significant proportion of the town’s population and benefit the community enormously, both at junior and adult level. 

James Wilding, Academic Principal concluded by saying

The greatest impact by far this year has clearly been the positive effect we have been able to offer to the lives of our Ukrainian refugees. Our support has enabled other local groups such as the Lions and Rotary to aid them and others too. In my 42 year lifetime as a headteacher, I’ve never known such an opportunity arise before, and am humbled by the resilience these young people have shown, two being teenage girls with both parents serving with the military back home.

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