‘Many children at our school have had limited life experiences and I wanted to expand their horizons and give them the opportunity to learn more about the world.
The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme is funded by the British Council, and allows schools to link with international partner schools and work together on global issues. There’s no better project to open children’s eyes and encourage them to be independent thinkers. To get funding, you need to be a state-funded school with a partner school in one of the (more than 30) countries in the programme, and you need to plan a project based on one of the United Nations’ global goals for sustainable development. We’ve chosen gender equality. There are lots of online resources to help you design and structure your project. You can apply as a single school with an international partner, or as a school cluster with two or more international partner schools.
My aim was to get as many schools as possible involved and bring the benefits to children all over Stevenage. I pitched the programme at a monthly meeting of local headteachers – and six schools signed up straight away. Eventually, we had 13 schools involved. The British Council found partner schools for us in Nepal, and we were awarded the maximum grant of £35,000. The grant is paying for teachers to visit each other in Nepal and England, a celebration event in the local town, twilight training for teachers, and some supply cover for me.
The children have put together information about our school and town, and the gender equality project will be woven throughout the KS2 curriculum and will reach more than 4,000 children across Stevenage, as well as thousands more in Nepal. The children will be able to think about how boys and girls – and men and women – are perceived in the UK, and can then compare that with their counterparts in Nepal. They can ask questions, and think about what actions they can take to make a difference in each community. ’
Andrew Christie, assistant head, The Leys Primary and Nursery School, Stevenage, Hertfordshire (500 pupils)