Author: Thomas Chaurin, Institut français d’Ecosse
Over the past four years, and in the context of existing education co-operation between France and Scotland*, most local authorities have initiated or are strengthening a partnership with a regional education authority in France. These partnerships have allowed education communities from both nations to communicate, work together, learn from one another and develop new skills.
School-to-school partnerships are developing everywhere in Scotland, connecting learners and staff, through eTwinning. The feedback is very positive: the language we learn becomes real, teachers in France and in Scotland share practice, teachers and learners build greater international awareness and cultural understanding.
These partnerships have also brought together staff of both nations thanks to Erasmus+ funding. Inspectors, head teachers, curriculum leaders and teachers have had the opportunity to meet and reflect on their practices in areas of common interest such as attainment, citizenship or parental engagement. Learners too have taken part in exchanges. A formidable example is ‘How to be a European Citizen’**, an Erasmus+ project led by Collège Hector Berlioz, in partnership with Castlebrae Community High School and the Instituto Bilingüe de Leganés. This project has enabled learners of these three schools to meet once in Paris, then in Madrid, and soon in Edinburgh. Learners have engaged in a variety of activities, including rugby, to develop common values and build a sense of European citizenship.
Finally, the Scotland-France regional partnerships have enabled the development of a network of support that helps teachers to engage internationally. Development Officers in Scotland and their equivalent in France, eTwinning staff and ambassadors in both countries, Education Scotland, French Ministry of Education, British Council and Institut français are all supporting school communities to build their partnerships and offer their learners more opportunities to engage and learn.
* Following the 2004-2008 Declaration of Intent, France and Scotland signed a further four-year Statement of Intent in 2013. A new agreement for 2018-2021 took effect in January 2018.
** To find out more about this project, see @NoOneOffside and @CCHS_NOO on Twitter.
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