L'Ecole de la Fontaine
The link was first established with L'Ecole de la Fontaine as two teachers from each establishment visited the other school to take part in planning, lessons and school life through the Erasmus+ project. The exercise was a wonderful opportunity to allow teachers to experience different cultures, language and education systems whilst reflecting on their own practice. Since then, the value of the exchange visit has been noticeable, as teachers are engaged and understanding of the benefits that a link with foreign schools can bring to our pupils. A further visit by staff at Grafton (made possible by the funding granted to us by the Erasmus+ project) has also taken place. In upper key stage 2, the classes write letters or emails to the parallel French class sharing what they have been learning in the term, what they have been doing outside school, and any celebrations or school events which have taken place. This 'real life' communication is something the children really value and it stimulates their interest and thinking about life in different countries. During the last four academic years, Year 5 children from Grafton visited the link school on a trip to Paris for the day. The children spent the morning in the school, engaging in the various activities that the French students were participating in. The French and English students then visited the local park, where they conversed in the different languages. This was a very beneficial visit for both schools as the children got to celebrate their different cultures. After visiting the school, the English students spent the afternoon in Paris, tasting the French culture for themselves. Throughout the last four years, this link has been maintained with letters and emails to children who attend the school in Paris. This is particularly evident in year 5, where the children have forged relationships with the same age group and regular correspondence occurs. The coordinators from both schools (Andy Young and Laetitia Devillars) are in regular contact, discussing classroom activities that occur in their respective schools. We intend to carry on with the link and visit the school annually.
Central Elementary School, Glenrock, New Jersey, United States
This partnership was started with a personal link with Andy. He arranged to visit the school and looked at planning and curriculum ideas with the partner teacher, whilst visiting the United States. The link was then firmly established. Since the partnership started, the children from year 6 have written letters to the school, sharing what they have been learning in the term, what they have been doing outside school, and any celebrations or school events which have taken place. This 'real life' communication is something the children really value and it stimulates their interest and thinking about life in different countries, particularly school life and politics. We also created a video of the school and the local community, which was sent by email to the link teacher.
Heritage School, Limassol, Cyprus
This partnership also started with a personal link from Mel. She put the MFL Coordinator in touch with the school, who spoke to the international coordinator about how we could create a partnership and share best work and practice. Since the partnership started, the children from a class in year 3 have written letters to the school, sharing what they have been learning in the term, what they have been doing outside school, and any celebrations or school events which have taken place. This 'real life' communication is something the children really value and it stimulates their interest and thinking about life in different countries. This was especially exciting for the year 3 children, as it was their first experience of communication with an international school. This stimulates their excitement and prepares them for the international work and correspondence that they will participate in throughout the remainder of key stage two. Having a partner school in Southern and Northern Cyprus meant that the year group could compare the schools and how similar or different they are.
Grafton School – a Truly International School Our international work at Grafton School continues to develop and we are very proud of the work we do. Since taking the role in 2015, the MFL and International Coordinator has worked hard to ensure that the international dimension has embedded in the school curriculum and ethos. We successfully applied for the Accreditation level of International School Award in 2016 and we have continuously reviewed the international work and policy to ensure that we maintain our very high standards. We have developed a very strong link with our school in Paris and have visited the school each year since we achieved accreditation. Additionally, we have set up links with schools in U.S, Norway and Cyprus. We have also taken part in an international project based on refugees and immigration and have started French and German after school clubs, again reinforcing our international dimension. The projects that have been running in our school have developed even further, with very successful results. Our 'World Day' celebrations were the most attended and successful yet and we are proud that the children in our school are open minded, respectful and knowledgeable on international themes and issues. Five members of staff have also visited France (Perpignan and Paris) through a successful application for Erasmus+ funding, which has been beneficial to the international dimension of our school. We continue to have plans at Grafton to aid and support other schools with their international work. We will continue to welcome visitors from overseas (particularly Scandinavian countries) to our school to gain insight into how we are inclusive, particularly to children who have English as an additional language. The Scarabeus Aerial Theatre international project that we piloted is to be taken to other schools in London and we have agreed to be an advisor for these schools. We will support them in the process of gaining funding and offer guidance on how the project can elevate the international dimension. We also wish to help other schools with their international dimension. Our aim is to invite coordinators from other schools to Grafton to show them how the international dimension can enrich the curriculum within their schools.