Best practice in school linking


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  • Thanks very much for listening today and for finding out more about the work we do. If you have any questions I will be in the best practice in school linking workshop following this and would be happy to speak to you then.
  • Thanks very much for attending this presentation on best practice in linking as part of the afternoon session focusing on schools and young people. I know that not all of you are teachers or have school links but we hope that you will find the session insightful. As you can see today we are going to look at what are the principles making up a good partnership, what are the outcomes of school linking, tips on embedding it in the curricul, the fundraising dilemma and summarising the outcomes.
  • Link Community Development has over 15 years of experience in international development and school partnerships. From the Scotland office we facilitate links between Scotland and UG, Mal, SA and Gh and we currently support 64 partnerships throughout Scotland. We have staff on the ground in all of the countries we are working in with skills and expertise and dedication to support the schools involved in the programme.
  • Talk to you neighbor and discuss this for one minute. Ask your neighbour how they would hope to behave with their partner school to achieve the anticipate benefits (refer to principles)
  • From experience we know that school linking can develop cultural understanding and bring a global dimension to teaching and learning. It can bring knowledge and understanding of global issues , challenging stereotypes , promoting a culture of respect , and friendship in individuals and across the whole school. The idea is that partner schools learn together about global issues and from each other. There is a quote there from a Link School which demonstrates this. From a Link study done on impact of linking by staff in the UK and Uganda, the UK results showed there is evidence that through the link pupils in the UK increased their K+ U and that having a partnership made this learning this real.
  • A school that engages in best practice would develop an understanding of the challenges partners face in terms of teaching and learning as well as management and seek to build on partners’ strengths, experience and knowledge School linking can support your partner school’s improvement and support capacity building and professional development of teachers in the north and south . To achieve this make sure activities benefit both partners and are in line with school development plans, goals and priorities. Many people do this via Reciprocal Visits, you can also share assessment strategies, SIPs, lesson plans, resources, classroom management ideas to support CPD and to improve teaching and learning in the schools.
  • A school that is demonstrating best practice would ensure the partnership is based around learning together and developing gc in the curriculum and would be able to link it to CfE outcomes and experiences. In this way it can enhance the ethos and life of the school. By looking at the CfE experiences and outcomes, teachers can see how the link can contribute to them. E.g. with the secondary Health and wellbeing – experiences and outcome ‘ Having explored a range of issues which may affect food choice, I can discuss how this could impact on the individual’s health’. HWB 3-34a , 4-34a One school shared information with their partner school on food, health and diet by creating pictures of different foods grown locally, growing produce from each other’s countries in school gardens and sharing photographs of this, and mapping the cycle of food production and consumption. This led to discussions about the health implications of diet in Scotland and Malawi which supported teaching and learning.
  • Link wanted to find out a lot more about the benefit of school partnerships to rural African schools, so we carried out some research in Masindi, Uganda where we asked head teachers, teachers and learners in 5 linked schools and 5 non-linked schools about the development of their school and the role of school linking in supporting that development. From the study it was shown that the overall impact on African schools, as seen by the teachers, is positive in terms of improvements in quality of teaching, health of the pupils, enrolment and motivation of pupils and increases in pass rates. There was also a clear connection between school linking and the level of confidence and pride observed in the Ugandan teachers and community members. The role in promoting equal involvement in girls in particular, and their increased levels of self-esteem was highlighted. Exchanging letters helped to promote a culture of everyone having equal access.
  • The best partnerships are embedded within the school’s activities - here are ways of embedding your link in the school. Form a linking committee/ global group - Whole school approach – more than 1 person, SMT - set up a ‘Linking Committee’ with pupils, school community and parents as a forum to plan and review your link. Involvement of pupils in the linking process can support their development of citizenship skills; broaden their, self confidence and sense of responsibility. - Involve your school community - this Ensures sustainability – if there are other people taking responsibility for the link then the link can continue if the key link co-ordinator leaves + takes the pressure off one person; it increases the profile of the school partnership and awareness of international development issues Carry out a baseline evaluation and GC audit Include it in your School Improvement Plan + review of the contribution of linking to both schools’ improvement plans and wider objectives. Set up / evaluate your Partnership Agreement - Reviewing and evaluating a partnership on an ongoing basis can help to ensure that the partnership is achieving its aims and objectives. It will also help both schools to recognise what the partnership has achieved, the impact the link is making on those affected by the link – e.g. pupils, teachers, community and wider learning community and to learn from mistakes and address problems which arise;
  • - Link to CfE and to other whole school initiatives (such eco schools, Fair Trade, Rights Respecting Schools, enterprise projects) - Get support from other orgs such as the British Council guides, DECs, website - Carry out a Reciprocal Visit – visits can bring the link to life on both sides, making it real for the pupils and helping to get more staff and community members on board. It also strengthens the partnership and make it more sustainable. - Clustering and networking - Plan joint curricular projects – best practice schools Move beyond basic communication and letter writing to learn together about global issues. Many resoruces exist already through DECs and teachers have developed their own resources. In response Link has developed a series of resources to guide this process.
  • These partnership curriculum projects were designed for pairs of schools to fit in with the curriculum of the countries involved which should provide valuable teaching and learning experiences for all schools. Each is adaptable and flexible using participatory methods. The idea is that partner schools learn together about global issues and from each other.
  •   Many schools face this dilemma of fundraising as part of a school partnership. Whether it is in the form of a begging letter from the southern school, or community members of a northern school who want to raise money for a link school it can lead to some difficult situations, broken promises, one sided partnerships, negative stereotypes, distrust amongst community members . In our experience fundraising/ Money should never be the focus of a school partnership. Partnerships which focus on joint learning and supporting one another have been found to be more mutually beneficial. These partnerships promote the educational benefits for partner schools and are more sustainable. It’s not about aid, it’s about support and partnership - many organisations have resources which support you to do this.
  • Best practice in school linking

    1. 1. Link Community Development:- Louise Stuart, Programme Manager- Link, Thorn House, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh- 0131 243 2685
    2. 2. Aims of today - Best practice in school linking• Principles of a good partnership• Outcomes of school linking• How to embed Global citizenship in your partnership?• Fundraising – the dilemma?• Summary outcomes
    3. 3. Link believes ‘A goodeducation gives people theskills and knowledge theyneed to reduce poverty andtackle inequality in theircommunitywherever they live...’The Link Schools Programme is ourinitiative to link schools fromEthiopia, Ghana, Malawi, SouthAfrica and Uganda with counterpartsin England, Ireland, NorthernIreland, Scotland, USA and Wales.
    4. 4. What do you think are the principles ofa good partnership?
    5. 5. Principles of school linking• team work • patience• equality • honesty• openness • sacrifice• friendship • trust• commitment • critical thinking and• respect reflection
    6. 6. What is school linking according to Link Scotland?• A facilitated partnership with an African school and its teachers and pupils• Access to creative resources and networking opportunities• Printed resources including a linking guide and themed Partnership Curriculum Projects, to study alongside your partner school• A Project Manager to support and guide your activities on both sides• DHL exchange dates for the delivery of materials between schools• Support to arrange international teacher and pupil visits
    7. 7. Outcomes of school linking1. Developing global citizens“Thanks to the link the children are far more aware of what other countries in Africa are like. They are more respectful and tolerant of different cultures and people; and relate better to current issues in the media such as Fair trade.”[Elaine Graham, Killermont Primary School]• There is evidence that UK pupils increased their knowledge and understanding about development and global issues and that having a partnership with a school in Africa made this learning real.
    8. 8. 2. Capacity building in the North and South“Our link has created exposure to new ideas and has increased the capacity of the teachers and parents and this has resulted in remarkably improved academic performance of the school...”“We are more informed than ourcounterparts in non-link schools... wenow have an appetite for teaching thatwe did not have previously. Now otherteachers come here to learn from us asrole models.” [Teachers from IsagaraPrimary School, Uganda]
    9. 9. 3. Embeds Global Citizenship in the curriculum“The link has given us an impetus. It’s helped us to think about what interdisciplinary activities we want to do. It supports Curriculum for Excellence and links already with what we want to see. It’s an evolutionary process.” [Helen Wright, Lockerbie Academy] “SMT’s don’t want a one-off Global Citizenship course, they want to see it filtered through the curriculum.” [Heather Ferguson, teacher ]
    10. 10. 4. Improves quality of education“Learners have improved in both reading and writing skills”,“It has raised the level of our learners’ thinking capacity”,“It has a good impact as some of our learners can now readand write independently” [Ugandan teachers]• Promotes equal involvement• Increases levels of self-esteem in girls• Exchanging letters promotes a culture of everyonehaving equal access.
    11. 11. Embedding the link in your school – hints and tips• Form a linking committee/ global group facilitating a Whole School Approach – more than 1 person• Involve your school community• Carry out a baseline evaluation and GC audit• Include it in your School Improvement Plan• Develop a Partnership Agreement
    12. 12. Embedding the link in your school (cont.)• Link to CfE and other whole school initiatives• Introduce clustering and networking• Get support from other organisations• Carry out a Reciprocal Visit• Plan joint curricular projects
    13. 13. Joint curricular themed resources1. Environment – (Science, social) climate change, calculating ecological footprints.• Health – (HWB) - Diseases & illnesses, Improving health, etc.• Global education - (Social) – Education as a human right, consequences of lack of education.4. Poverty – (Social) – exploring consequences of poverty, ‘poverty trap’ , etc.5. Gender – (HWB, Social) – basic human rights and gender inequality, etc.6. Partnership working - (Social)- global debt, what is aid?,
    14. 14. gender gender healthenvironment environment
    15. 15. Fundraising – the dilemma? vs
    16. 16. Outcomes of best practice:In summary if you have afully-functional, supportedlink it can result in …Improved CPD and capacitybuilding in Africa and Scottishschools with globalcitizenship embeddedthroughout the curriculumleading to a qualityeducation.