International learning is embedded across the school and our self evaluation and school improvement plan reflect this.The International Award Gold has been held since 2009 with our most recent visits to and from Sri Lanka in 2014.
We also received visits from two teachers from Greenfield School in Chile in 2016 who taught Spanish to the children and conducted cultural learning activities with them. They were interested in developing the teaching of phonics in their schools and we corresponded with them to that effect. We have since then further developed Spanish cultural and language learning in school attending a meeting with the Spanish ambassador and the Spanish minister earlier this year and developing partnerships with other local schools in Bishop Auckland who are interested in Spanish art and culture. We have been finding out about the caminos de Santiago de Compuestela which is very relevant to our whole school theme Pilgrimage. We have planned sequences of lessons which incorporate all of our subjects around this theme and have put out links to hopefully find some partner schools along the camino to replace other links with France and Chile that have now broken.We are also collaborating and acting as ambassadors with other socially diverse schools through our Forest School programme, and comparing and contrasting our experiences and social settings with others and we have participated in DCC’s Commonwealth celebrations. We feel that we are encouraging our children to think globally and consider the lifestyles, experiences and feelings of other diverse individuals both at home and abroad, whilst developing their knowledge and understanding of international themes and the difficulties and achievements that children face in this country and abroad. In this way, we feel that we can develop the empathy and interest of our rurally, isolated children and encourage them to become true global citizens. We have submitted our reaccreditation to the British Council and we will hear in September whether our award will be renewed for another two years. Previously we have visited and been visited by teachers from Tanzania and there is art and sculpture in our secret garden from these projects.
We have started a new project with a new partner school in Vietnam and children are developing their ICT and geography skills and are communicating with the children from this school. This is a country that we previously knew very little about so it is an exciting addition to our International portfolio.
We have consulted with the local secondary school so that we can coordinate our language learning programme with theirs, now offering both French and Spanish which matches their Year Seven choices.
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