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Explosion in links as schools go global

Asian, Arabic and African partnerships mushroom with rapid expansion in sharing of curriculum work and staff expertise

Links between UK schools and others around the globe are mushrooming at an unprecedented rate.

The expansion is being driven by extra funding from the Department for Education and Skills' international strategy, launched in November 2004, which aims to internationalise school life.

Olga Stanojlovic of the British Council said:"Schools are recognising that we have to prepare young people for life in a global society."

The international links focus on curriculum projects, sharing teaching expertise, global understanding and language.

New British Council schemes include an Arab initiative aiming to support 1,000 school leadership, ICT and curriculum projects. It involves 200 British schools and partners in Gulf states including Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

A three-year DfES project on innovations in primary schools is linking UK education authorities to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine Occupied Territories. The Department of International Development is funding a quadrupling of its Global School Partnerships scheme to support 1,500 links. And 1,000 links are planned between UK and Indonesian secondaries.

Last year, 2,000 schools expressed an interest in setting up links with Europe and 2,000 with the wider world. Many used and Class.

The TES, with the support of HSBC and the British Council, is promoting more and better-quality links through its Make the Link campaign. Schools and colleges can enter the TESHSBC Make the Link awards, with pound;25,000 of prizes for categories covering the best European links, best world links, special-school links and top prizes of pound;3,000-pound;5,000 for schools and colleges with a range of high-quality links to different countries.

Linking schemes:www.globalgateway.orgFor stories about schools linking and blogs from visits, see Make_the_Link. To enter the TESHSBC Make the Link awards, fill in entry forms online or download and post them to arrive by July 21

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