A West Norfolk school has received a prestigious award marking its international work which has seen students engage in a number of activities, from virtual language quizzes to creating a recycled garden.
Smithdon High School, a member of the 11-strong West Norfolk Academies Trust, has been recognised for all its work and achieved the Intermediate International School Award in a scheme operated by the British Council.
The Hunstanton school was praised by the assessor: “This is an excellent range of work seeking to develop and embed a whole school commitment to international teaching and learning.”
Students also completed work focusing on social responsibility, the Windrush generation and the US civil rights movement.
Working on a broad curriculum covering international issues, including social history and modern foreign languages, students have also been able to enhance their learning as the school is paired with another in Nepal under the Connecting Classrooms initiative.
Each school within the academy trust is partnered with a school from either India or Nepal with Connecting Classrooms which is also a British Council scheme.The project is being led by Karen Williams, who has secured funding from the British Council, for all the trust’s schools to take part.
Smithdon is partnered with the Elite Grand School in Nepal and the Norfolk students have been creating a recycled sensory garden which promotes and encourages re-using items in a different way instead of disposing of them. They have been creating sculptures from waste plastic and sharing their work in assemblies.
Their counterparts have had a virtual tour of Smithdon and the students have exchanged ideas via Zoom or WhatsApp.
Headteacher John Hirst has visited Nepal and is delighted Smithdon is forging links with the Elite Grand School.
“Students from both schools will enjoy the benefits of this connection as they learn about different cultures and also discover how much they have in common. We have been working on a sensory garden project as part of this project and look forward to seeing our students and staff enjoying the area,” he said.
The link-up had its early difficulties as schools in Nepal were struck with Covid earlier this year and students were sent home as a result. But the project has continued and the Intermediate International School Award has proven to be the icing on the cake.
“We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this status and it is a reflection of the hard work and enthusiasm that everyone at Smithdon puts into learning and teaching internationalism."
“Having the opportunity to work within the Connecting Classrooms project means we can give our students first-hand experiences from another country with a different culture.”
The International School Award citation added: “Your curriculum planning has resulted in an enhanced ability of the pupils to be able to both compare and contrast aspects of their lives and customs with ones overseas and you use your link with Elite Grand School in an impactful way across a broad and balanced curriculum.”
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