We currently have two strong international links which allow our pupils to share experiences with children in very different contexts. Partnerships with schools in other countries expose our teachers and students to very different learning environments and cultures. This can help us examine ours and their perceptions and values and appreciate how these affect attitudes and actions; particularly, so as part of our involvement in the Starfish Malawi project.
Mrs Omer is the Link Teacher between Goudhurst and Kilndown and Lungamadzi School in Malawi. "I've visited Malawi before, although many years ago now, while travelling and it was a very calm, gentle place to be in for a few weeks. I am hoping that perceptions of life outside of our beautiful village, and indeed our country, can be positively enhanced through education and understanding. Holly Nichols of Starfish Malawi has been amazing at helping me set up the link school which involves training in learning, global, environmental and social issues. Last year, Year 4 spent the day at Bedgebury planting Melangi Cedar seeds, the national tree of Malawi, ready to grow here before being transported back to Malawi when big enough."
This particular link has been facilitated by the charitable organisation ‘Starfish Malawi’ and the aim of the link is not only charitable but it is also about global education:
‘To motivate our pupils’ commitment to a fairer, more sustainable world.’
The Department for International Development (DIFD) supports partnerships that promote global education through the curriculum. They provide guidance for teachers and grants for reciprocal visits.
A study by NFER on behalf of DIFD has shown that involvement in the Global Schools Partnership Programme has a significant positive effect on the awareness, attitudes and responses of pupils about global issues.
It is our intention that through this link we will ‘open the eyes’ of our pupils in an area of the country where there is little ethnic diversity. Development of the link with School is part of the School Development Plan and part of the Christian ethos of our school.
Bible Explorer classes are also available to the upper Key Stage 2 children and Holly recently visited to lead an assembly on water. Please see these photos and newsletters updates from Lungamadzi. I would love to hear from you if you have visited Malawi! We are currently completing a whole school survey on our favourite lessons, a topic organised by the School Council.
If you would like to find out more about the work of Starfish Malawi or would like to look at some educational resources, follow the links below:
Our school is also nurturing a new partnership with French Primary school Ecole Jean D'Arc in Wimereux, Boulogne. Year 6s have already been communicating with their opposite 'pairings' via letter and video.
Both the opportunities also provide a basis for broadening our already diverse curriculum and allow us to take subject areas into global perspectives.