"Pupils show great pride in their school and are very eager to share with visitors the things they think make it special, such as the links with international schools"
Ofsted Report 2008
Boughton Monchelsea Primary School was awarded the prestigious International School Award in the Autumn of 2007. This award, organised by the British Council for the Department for Children, Schools and Families, gived the school accreditation through to September 2010. The school also gained the award in 2000 and 2003 and became one of a select number of schools to have recieved this distinction three times. A portfolio of the year 2006/2007 was sent to the British Council and their judgement was:
"An excellent range of activities. This was a real pleasure to read and we understand why Ofsted has given the international work in your school so much due praise"
Former Deputy Heateacher, Peter Hirons, recieved the award from George Alagiah, the BBC TV journalist, in the presence of Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners.
Boughton Monchelsea School recognises that we all live in an increasing global society where communities are becoming more and more dependent upon working together. Learners need to have opportunities to understand what it means to be European and global citizens and develop attitudes where stereotyping, racism and biggotry do not exist. International education provides the basis for spiritual, moral and social development and provides a real focus for many other curriculum activities.
Over the last 18 years Boughton Monchelsea School has worked closely with several schools in Europe, one in the USA, one in Japan and another in Africa.
Our first ever link was with Ecole Pasteur in Roubaix, France. This involved Year 6 children in a pen-pal type project with theur counterparts. It worked successfully for three years with the french pupils visiting Kent and coming into our homes. We visited Boulogne each year.
Around the same time, a tiny link was made with a small school in Cliasmol in the Outer Hebrides, on the Isle of Harris. This school had just four pupils who were two sets of sisters.
In 1995 a partnership was developed with Diego Valeri School in Favaro Veneto, Italy. Favaro Veneto is adjacent to Venice. Again this was limited to Year 6 pupils. During the latter part of 1996 it was decided to try and seek funding to develop our work in the European Dimension and include a wider range of pupils. This required finding another school as the French partnership was lost following the organising teacher changing jobs.
In 1997 the school's Headteacher, and Deputy Headteacher travelled to Helsinki along with four teachers from Diego Valeri School and after several meetings with teachers at Postipuu School, Espoo, a city just a few kilometres from Helsinki, we agreed to link together and applied for a funded Comenius Project. Our project ideas were accepted by the British Council and we commenced work in September 1997.
Project funding gave us a real boost as it enabled all the cost of materials and communication to be met. Crucially it enabled teachers to travel to each other's schools for meetings to arrange programmes of work, review different education systems, gain ideas and teach in very different situations. The whole of Key Stage 2 was involved in this project.
From these small beginnings much has been achieved. The school is currently in its fifth project involving European schools. By the end of this school year, 13 teachers, 3 teaching assistants and two school governors will have, over the years, had professional development opportunities by travelling to one or more of our partner schools. Since 2002 the British Council have funded travelling opportunities for small groups of pupils. By the end of next year we will have taken pupils to Greece, Italy, Finland, Spain, Austria and Germany. Several families have continued their friendships and travelled to each others homes outside of the project which is just brilliant! Pupils and teachers from these countries have visited our school on a regular basis.
Here is a list of our projects and schools we have worked with
Culture, Traditions, Values and Ways of Life Within our Countries 1997-2000
The Impact of Weather and Climate on our Lives, Culture and Environment 2000-2003
Learning Procedures as a Vehicle Towards a European Dimension in School Education 2003-2006
Culture and Community in the New Europe and Wider World 2006-2009
The Effect of Media and New Technologies on Conformity, Diversity and Creativity in Todays Extended European Partnership 2009-2011
Boughton Monchelsea Primary School, UK
Diego Valeri School, Venice, Italy
Postipuu School, Helsinki, Finland
S. Avgoulea-Linardatou School, Athens, Greece
Colegio Publico San Isidro, Aranjuez, Spain
Dalhemsskolan, Helsingborg, Sweden
Sir Karl Popper School, Vienna, Austria
Grundschule Comenius, Paderborn, Germany
Linacre Primary School, Bootle, UK
We now have all our pupils involved in some way in our project. In addition, following the Deputy Headteacher visiting Louisville, Kentucky, USA on a Teachers' International Professional Development course, a link was established in 2002 with Tully Elementary School. In 2005 a project started with some pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6, working with Mimura Shogakko School in Japan.
The European Project has supported two schools in the developing world these being:
Piquiucho School, Piquiucho, Ecuador in 2007/2008
Yalding School, Farato, Gambia in 2008 - onwards with our regular supply teacher having taught there as a volunteer.
Our French Club has linked with Ecole Ronsard near Lille in France.
Boughton Monchelsea School's work in this area has received wide recognition along with its three International School Awards. We have featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Kent, along with publicity in a range of magazines and journals. Kent County Council has used the school as an example of good practice, regularly sending groups of Headteachers and Administrators from all over Europe to see the school at work. The project coordinator has spoken at conferences, headteacher meetings and for the British Council about how this kind of work can impact positively for schools.