Archive of European Projects

Catholic Primary Intercambio & Training 2014-17
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Pamplona-Cheshire Catholic Primary Intercambio 2014-17. In 2011, transnational educational links were first made between St Mary of the Angels Catholic Primary School, Ellesmere Port, England; and the Maristas School, Pamplona, Spain (formally known as Colegio Santa Maria la Real). Two lead teachers were ex students together, in English universities; and also with faith links, alongside the schools' having similar aims, a link was soon inevitable. First beginning as a writing project, with postcards and letters sent to each other, it soon developed into a shared desire for a primary foreign exchange. Things rolled on, and in autumn 2013, the first 'intercambio' took place. Fourteen students from Pamplona arrived to stay in the homes of families in Ellesmere Port, with a return trip in June 2014. Although quite unusual in both countries, the Year 6 primary exchange trip was a massive success. Students shared school lessons together; lived each other's lifestyles; and went on days out, speaking a little of each other's language. Most importantly, they became the best of friends, on Skype, Facebook and so on. They also realised that the world was a much smaller place than they imagined; and began to aspire to speak other languages better; & perhaps to travel abroad to live and work in the future. The project was a bit of a trial though, and costly for each school; it had to be subsidised heavily for parents, whose circumstances often prohibited an 'expensive holiday'. Both schools though became determined that the project was absolutely vital; 'superimportante' as Alberto Burguete, the Spanish headteacher, called it. Rob Hughes, headteacher at St Mary of the Angels, heard about the new Erasmus Plus grant system. Soon, an application for a three year, joint Strategic Partnership was put into place; with the added element of a real need for joint staff training on key curricular, pedagogical and language skills, over the three years. Our main objectives are; * we embed and sustain a Primary Foreign Exchange/Languages programme for our two schools, in which each school invests heavily. 14 children from each school will travel to their partner school, each year, for 3 years, with flexibility to increase numbers if we can. We are already starting to raise extra funds now to embed it permanently, beyond the Erasmus project; *we support this via a series of planning and teaching visits between our staffs, including staff training projects in art, sport and literacy, in each school. Teachers would be released to plan and deliver the projects, across the three years, with expertise in each school helping those in their partner organisation to embed new skills; * we support all staff in each school to become more proficient with the foreign language, via ongoing staff training investment, both 'face to face' and also digitally; the Europass system will be the backbone of this strategy. *we'll work together in additional research on further pedagogy. For example, St Mary's is involved in a national Assessment for Learning project, based in Cheshire, with renowned AfL expert, Professor Dylan William. We aim to improve student self and peer assessment; innovate with marking; & use practical assessment improvements in our classrooms, to help children in each school to be more independent learners. Many of the skills are certainly 'transnational' and we intend to measure the impacts, before the findings are published, in 2016. Our desired outcomes? *Increased, improved language learning opportunities for all our pupils & staff, measured via official European accreditation. *Greatly enhanced teaching skills for all our staff, through 'face to face' training and web contact with partner colleagues *Much higher self esteem for pupils involved in the exchanges, especially for those who are disadvantaged in some way, by personal circumstances *More effective pedagogy in both schools through curriculum enhancement, involving expert staff from each school sharing skills with others. Through the innovative assessment project, we hope to increase pupil independence; and give them much greater clarity about improving their work, by teaching them how to learn. Then there are the 'unseen' outcomes. Pupils - and staff - becoming more aspirational; wanting to study languages/travel abroad more; a lifelong love of other cultures developing; seeing new types of employment, in other countries, that they'd never seen before; realising that they could move to other parts of the EU, if they want. These are all outcomes that we are sure are achievable... Outcomes will be published on each school website; and our headteachers, who are both involved in networking, locally and regionally, will disseminate these at various conferences over the three years. Each website will be updated monthly, following regular review/evaluation meetings in each school (and bi-monthly, joint reviews via video conference). And watch out for us on social media!
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