PUPILS at a primary school near Ashbourne have been chosen to develop international links with Sri Lanka and Gambia as part of a major new school twinning project to boost global education.
Connecting Classrooms is a UK government and British Council education initiative, and Kniveton Primary has been selected in recognition of its commitment to teaching students about global issues.
Teachers and students are working with Moragalla Junior School in Sri Lanka and Janet International School in Gambia to learn how to become responsible global citizens and to develop skills to work in a global economy.
Head teacher, Lynn Board, said: ”We are delighted that the British Council and connecting classrooms are supporting our International work.
“We have had links with Gambia for the past 14 years and our children have been involved in joint exciting curriculum work such as looking at solar power in both countries.
“Several teachers and I have been over to Gambia to teach 14 times and have been involved in several innovative projects such as building wells for remote villages and even buying four donkeys and carts to take children to school.
“The children raise money through school discos and several members of the community help with donations.
“We are looking forward to now learning about our partner school in Sri Lanka and how their lives are different to ours.
“Six members of our staff and governing body are visiting Sri Lanka at Easter and Gambia in May and taking work from us out to our friends.”
Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening said: “I am very pleased that Kniveton Primary in Ashbourne is taking on this excellent opportunity to link with schools in other parts of the world.
“Young people and teachers can make a fantastic contribution by sharing the best of Britain with their peers around the world and at the same time, the great thing is that they can get invaluable knowledge of what life is like in other countries.
“Connecting Classrooms will enable pupils to learn about the world around them, about the facts of poverty that face children their own age in developing countries, and how education can help eradicate poverty.
“It will also benefit teachers by enhancing their professional skills.”
The programme will enable several teachers from Kniveton Primary to take part in an exchange visit with Moragalla Juniors and Janet International School and work on classroom-based projects together, with the aim of giving young people a unique and hands-on international learning experience.
All the schools involved will be looking at the role of religion in their lives, the differences and similarities in our families and the role or women within them, playground games, celebrations throughout their lives, the carbon footprint that each country and child makes and their wishes for the future of the world.
International coordinator, Lynn Board, added: “It is a wonderful opportunity to enhance our children’s knowledge about the World and the amazing children who live in countries far away from ours.
“We see our international work as a vital part of our school curriculum and the children derive enormous benefits from it.
“We are all busy at the moment writing our penpal letters to our friends in Sri Lanka and Gambia and eagerly await our replies.”
Georgia and Oliver Fry, aged 10, said: “It is really interesting learning about different countries as we can learn how they live compared to us.”
Alex Radlett, aged 10, added: “I like learning about the countries and what their famous landmarks are, how big they are and what languages they speak.”