Factfile: British Council Cymru

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* The council has been active in Wales since 1934 when it was set up "to make the life and thought of the British peoples more widely known; and to promote a mutual interchange of knowledge and ideas". Activities in Wales were originally run from offices in Bristol and Liverpool.

* First Welsh office opened in 1944 as an "Allied centre" for increasing numbers of refugees arriving from Allied countries.

* Today, the council's Wales office in Cardiff overlooks the National Museum. it has eight staff. Director since last August is Kevin Higgins, an Englishman with a Welsh wife and young son, Ioan, who has lived in Crickhowell, south Wales, since 2000.

* Annual spending: about pound;1.5 million.:

* Among the programmes it runs are:


Five-day visits to another European country to study best education practice and meet other decision-makers. Open to heads and deputies, advisers, education officers and teacher trainers.


Supports school partnerships for pupils and staff across Europe work on joint projects. In 2004, Wales (pop 3m) had 351 funded programmes, compared with 174 in Scotland (pop 5m).


Provides European in-service training for serving and trainee teachers on school developmentcurriculum issues. In 2004, Wales had 54 applications against 50 in Scotland.


Every school in Wales can be linked electronically to schools throughout EU.


Promotes partnerships between schools in the UK and in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

language assistants Last year there were 122 foreign language assistants in Welsh schools, while 84 Welsh undergraduates went overseas to help teach English


The one-stop shop website for international partnerships, where you can find schools from all over the world. www.globalgateway.org


A Wales-only programme for further education staff, to exchange good practice and develop links.


Enables qualified teachers in Wales to work in Lesotho for six months and develop their professional skills.

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