Students in County Durham are expected to visit partner schools around the world after securing grants totaling more than £ 300,000.
The government launched its new Turing Scheme earlier this year, a global program for studying and working abroad. It funds international opportunities in education and training around the world. Supporting the government’s Global Britain goals, the program opens up the possibility for UK organizations to deliver life-changing experiences across the world to their students, learners and pupils.
Schools in County Durham have been supported by the Durham County Council International Relations team to connect with partner school communities around the world and as a result the County has some of the highest standards of international education activity in the country.
A number of schools were selected for their applications.
Students from Rosa Street, Cleves Cross, Shotley Bridge and Escomb Primary Schools will visit Spain, while students from Tanfield Primary will go to France and Lanchester EP Primary will visit India. Young people from Ferryhill Business and Enterprise College will visit Vietnam, France and Canada, while students from St John’s School and Sixth Form College will travel to India, Spain, Germany and Chile.
Escomb Elementary School Principal Wendy Gill said: “We are delighted to have succeeded with our financing offer because it will allow us to forge links and partnerships in a real and meaningful way. It will offer children the opportunity to travel and directly discover another country and its culture; by giving them a greater awareness of the world in which they live.
“I hope this will have a lasting impact and encourage children to broaden their horizons and want to travel and learn new languages as young adults.”
The pupils of Bishop Barrington and St Bede’s in Lanchester will go to Spain, while the children of the Academy of Shotton Hall will travel to the United States.
Most of the visits will take place in late spring / summer 2022. Although this is the program’s first year, it is hoped that the government will agree to its continuation and that more schools can participate in 2022 / 23.
Throughout the pandemic, schools have had the opportunity to continue to work virtually with their overseas peers and participate in a series of digital projects that highlight the global nature of the impact of the coronavirus. Schools now feel ready to consider putting their students in direct contact with their partners when travel restrictions allow and it is considered safe.
Schools in County Durham reacted quickly when the program was launched in March; appreciate the value of offering students a quality international experience. This requires that most of the time abroad be spent learning at the partner school and working with students from the partner school. This creates an opportunity for students to develop important life skills as well as an opportunity to practice foreign languages.
Research undertaken by the British Council aligns international experience with future employment prospects and draws attention to how these experiences are often much less often viewed by young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program also aims to support the upgrading program and involve young people who face some form of barrier to participation.
The International Relations team promoted the program, supported research and development of links with partner schools, and supported the application process. The team will now also offer logistical support and work with colleagues at Durham University to provide appropriate linguistic and cultural preparation.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet Member for Durham County Council for Economics and Partnerships, said: “.
“I am sure the students will have a good time learning about other cultures and traditions in such fascinating places, broadening their horizons and deepening their education. A big thank you must also go to our International Relations team for all of their hard work in assisting the application process and developing important links with partner schools across the world for this program.