Sydney Rutherford and Michelle Dewsall, from Muntham House School in Barnes Green, has forged a partnership with Regina Pacis School in Rwanda as part of Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning, a unique global education programme.
Connecting Classrooms is run in over 30 countries by the British Council, in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID). It works with schools across the globe to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to make a positive contribution to their world.
The programme enables teachers not only to teach these skills to children in their classroom, but also to visit partner schools in other countries to exchange insights and ideas on how to improve teaching and global learning in their schools.
Muntham House School is taking part in the programme as part of a cluster of schools in Sussex, because of its commitment to preparing young people to make a positive contribution to their world.
On hearing, the news that Muntham House School has successfully applied to take part in the programme, Sir Ciarán Devane, CEO of the British Council, said: “I am delighted that Muntham House in Barns Green is taking on this excellent opportunity to develop their professional practice by collaborating with teachers from Rwanda and the UK. Their commitment to equip young people with skills and understanding for life, and work in an increasingly global economy, is to be commended.”
Students are working with their counterparts in Rwanda on an exciting project learning about Peace, Justice and Strong institutions. The students in both schools are using their Music, English and Religious studies lessons to develop written work, composition and performances to communicate their understanding of British and Rwandan values, conflict resolution, strengthening communities and making a positive contribution to the world.
Richard Boyle, Principal of Muntham House School, said: “Our role in particular as a specialist community working with young people with social disadvantages and with special needs, provides a greater relational dynamic. The relevant lack of social and learning experience needs compensation. This project will enable us to build in advantages and unique experiences, which should uplift our young people’s delayed progress. The British Council project builds upon our deeply thought out curriculum which emphasises interaction, learning relationships and personal management; Muntham House’s curriculum has a worldwide context and is linked expressly to a vocational pathway for future world citizens.
“We are seeking to place our young people forward into society and they need the skills to manage the local and wider community if they are to fit into their own community, one, indeed, which continuously adapts and evolves in a global context by bringing cultural and global awareness to our staff and students. This is an unequivocal expression of our values in action as will be this project.”
Connecting Classrooms will enable Sydney Rutherford, teacher and Michelle Dewsall, from Muntham House School to take part in an exchange visit with the partner school during the February Half Term to share experiences and success in teaching and implementing global learning in both schools. Father Jean de Dieu Tuyisenge, Principal and Evariste Musirikare, Head teacher at Regina Pacis School said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our partners and colleagues from the UK. Together we will be developing staff capacity to use English in the classroom, and developing a wider range of teaching strategies. Collaboration with our partner school in the UK will place even greater value on the importance of studying Peace and Justice. Our students and teachers will have more knowledge about the harm caused by a variety of examples of global conflict; through this, they will know that Rwanda is not the only country to have suffered so badly in the past; our past history did not happen in isolation. The school, our UK partners and the wider community will learn to think more deeply about how to ensure a peaceful, just future – for not only the immediate environment, but also what role our country can play in preventing conflict at international level, by seeking peaceful resolution as far as possible.”
Richard Boyle Continued: “We have an impressive history in working successfully with schools and services in Africa. Muntham’s Governing Body are keen for us to develop from established practice, to forge long-lasting collaborations with Regina Pacis in Rwanda through the agency of the British Council. Our initial work builds on mutual and sustainable programmes that develop practical experience and provide vital vocational skills for our young people and our colleagues here and in Africa. This is a partnership of equality and diversity, where we all learn from each other. Our shared goals are to improve young people’s life chances with first-hand experience”.