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Franco-Brit partnership

Our languages department used to feel quite overwhelmed by the science department, but not since we applied for the Franco-British Council school partnership prize together - and won.

Staff and pupils from both departments worked together in this country and in France on a project researching recycling. Pupils thought that science was fun - now they think French is fun, too.

The Franco-British Council school partnership prize has had a major impact on us as a modern foreign language department, because it opened the way for work across curriculum areas and subject "borders".

We entered the competition in 2001. It was a simple application, which required us to submit a project based on recycling. The science department seemed a natural partner for this, and they were determined to win.

We started the French Recycling Club straight away - even before the application form had been sent off. It was run by a science teacher and comprised 15 pupils, from Years 8 to 10, who met every week and who were the driving force behind the project.

They adopted a two-prong approach which first involved finding out attitudes towards recycling within our own college community and in our partner school in France, and analysing, comparing and disseminating the information. The second phase was finding out about the recycling process.

Funding from the Franco-British Council enabled our pupils and our French partners to visit recycling plants in London and northern France, and to meet and share information and ideas.

The end product was a highly informed, highly motivated group of pupils who took every opportunity to publicise their findings. They spoke to the rest of the college about recycling in England and France during assemblies, and produced displays and presented their findings to parents.

Charles Claxton, assistant headteacher at Archbishop Michael Ramsey Technology College, Camberwell. He will be speaking about trips, linking and projects at Language World 2003, University of Bath, on April 5 Applications for the next awards close on May 22. For more information you can visit www.francobritish council.org.uk

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