To develop cultural awareness amongst our pupils and provide staff with the opportunity to work with colleagues from across the EU, we got involved in the British Council’s Comenius Project. Now into our second year we have made some fantastic connections, enjoyed some super visits and built lasting professional and personal friendships with schools and staff from around Europe. Following a contact seminar in Belgium, we were successful in our application and in October 2008, we hosted 15 staff from our partner schools. We were able to look at our own school and practice in different ways and celebrate what we do well. It gave us all a sense of pride in what we do and helped us open the door to further improvements, routed in the good practice of our colleagues from Belgium, Czech Rep, Germany, Italy and Finland.
The children are working with a real sense of purpose as they know their learning on the agreed themes will be shared with their peers in our partner schools. It gave them a real sense of pride to know their work is being used to inform learning in schools across Europe.
Visits to Italy and Czech Rep have enabled staff to engage in relevant, exciting and fun CPD, learning so much from others and then bringing back new ideas and stories to inform what we do at Hawes Side. The project had also opened up a new level of professional dialogue amongst staff.
The pupils have a shared Comenius blog which is beginning to act as a great platform for the sharing of ideas, thoughts and questions. This year staff from school will be visiting our partners in Germany, Belgium and Finland. The children will be sharing their learning on three new agreed themes giving their work a real audience and a real sense of purpose. It’s a global village out there and Comenius is one of our most exciting ventures in this arena.