Chipping sodbury school wins prestigious international exchange award funding
Language has been no barrier to a group of international exchange students after their school won sought-after European funding to further the students' global outlook.
The youngsters from Chipping Sodbury School, aged 13 and 14, enjoyed a visit to a French school Cite Scolaire de Broceliande, and they have continued the exchange work by using email and online technology.
The project is part of the Comenius programme, which is funded by the European Commission and managed in the UK by the British Council.
This programme provides funding and professional development to enable students and teachers across Europe to work together and learn about each other's culture and education methods.
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Chipping Sodbury has been recognised for the past two years with a full International School Award (ISA) from the British Council.
This award recognises schools which have taken an active step towards tackling global themes.
It celebrates educators who have improved their teaching based on "collaborative learning" and champions schools that have carried out a range of activities and embedded international work across the curriculum.
Shaun Hatton, International Education Co-ordinator from Chipping Sodbury School, said: "We were privileged to have been selected for a Comenius grant so that we can enhance the lives of our students in terms of their understanding and tolerance of others in Europe.
"It has been an enriching experience for both students and teachers alike."
Chipping Sodbury School head teacher Gareth Millington said: "We are a school at the heart of our community but our outlook is global.
"It is hard to place a value on these kinds of experiences for students, in terms of both skills and confidence as young people."
Students and teachers have been working together on projects focusing on using their mathematical skills to solve problems in their respective languages.
Students have been using email and other online technology to communicate with their partners, but the opportunity to spend time in their respective countries experiencing first-hand the languages, school and culture of their partners has broadened pupils' horizons.
Head of EU Programmes at the British Council Simon Williams said: "We have a responsibility to prepare young people for life and work in our global society.
"Partnerships like this one not only help to build trust and understanding between people of different cultures, but also broaden pupils' horizons, bring languages and other subjects to life in the classroom, and equip young people with the skills and understanding they need to become global citizens."
Comenius is one of the most popular international education programmes for UK schools, colleges and local authorities.
The Comenius programme has two main objectives: to develop knowledge and understanding among young people and education staff of the diversity of European cultures and languages, and the value of this diversity; and to develop knowledge and understanding among young people and education staff of the diversity of European cultures and languages, and the value of this diversity.