Leeds school takes an international view over education

Deputy head Dave Manton with pupils Lauren Hill, Jack Wilkinson, Adam Leuty and Jaime Bailey.
Deputy head Dave Manton with pupils Lauren Hill, Jack Wilkinson, Adam Leuty and Jaime Bailey.
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Pudsey’s Southroyd Primary School and Nursery is giving its pupils the tools to become the best ‘global citizens’. Ryan Wilkinson reports.

The school’s involvement with the British Council’s international partnership and exchange programmes has allowed its students to interact with other youngsters around the world, from France to India.

And they are seeing brilliant results.

Headteacher Dave Eaton said: “It is important to prepare the children for global citizenship in the future, because the world is becoming a smaller place now, and when they are in their 20’s it’s going to be even more accessible via advances in technology and transport, and they need to know now. The parents have also been very supportive.”

The school was recently given the British Council’s International School Award, in recognition of its hard work in encouraging pupils to think about the world around them.

The awarding panel also focussed on the school’s international projects, held in conjunction with the St Jean la Bussiere Thizy School, France, the Rookdale School in South Africa and Bachpan School, India. Partnership with St Jean la Bussiere Thizy was chosen to complement the children’s French language lessons, whereas the other two were chosen for their profound cultural impact.

Since 2004 the school has been nurturing a relationship with the Bachpan School in Gujarat, India, and takes part in teacher pupil exchanges every year.

Challenging the kids and encouraging open mindedness is a corner stone of their syllabus.

Dave Manton, deputy headteacher of Southroyd Primary School, said: “There are so many benefits – preparing children for the modern world this way gives them an appropriate and effective way of learning about global issues.

“All schools should know that children learn best when subject content is real and relevant and it has been a real privilege and pleasure to work with people around the world, so we can take the best parts of each other’s educational systems.

“Elements of our educational set up have been absorbed into their ways of teaching, a basic example being collaborative seating plans, sitting in circles rather than in rows.”

The benefits of this approach are plain to see, both in Pudsey and Bachpan.

Pupil numbers at Bachpan have risen ten fold since it began work with Southroyd Primary nearly seven years ago.

Education has been promoted locally due to Bachpan having its own international ethos, attracting a new wave of students.

Dave feels that in an ever-shrinking world our children need to be aware of what is going on further afield.

He said: “Our day-to-day choices really make big differences to those around the world in this crazy, globalised place we live in.

“We teach the children that even things such as our shopping habits have an impact on the lives of the producers in other countries, and by changing our habits we can make life slightly easier for people in other parts of the world.”

The next visit by teachers and pupils from Bachpan School will be in November, and the school is very excited to welcome its guests.

The exchanges give the kids a chance to get to know each other on a personal level, swap stories, songs and playground games.

Nine-year-old Lauren Hill said: “It’s fun because you get to learn more about other people and their country.”

Developing their skills away from the classroom, Lauren and three of her friends from school recently gave a speech at the Our World conference in Leeds.

The school has also had fantastic results in its past OFSTED reports, with the most recent stating: “This is a good school with outstanding features. The excellent quality of the support and care staff provide, pupils’ confidence and self-esteem develops rapidly and they achieve well in all aspects of their learning.”

It has hit upon a winning formula, combining core subjects with its ambitious global studies, that will have kids leaving school as open-minded, confident individuals who are ready to take on the world.