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Global reach in dance and PE

A twinning project that links children in Midlothian and South Africa has all the right moves. Julia Belgutay reports

A twinning project that links children in Midlothian and South Africa has all the right moves. Julia Belgutay reports

Teachers from Newbattle High in Midlothian will be teaching dance and PE to 1,200 pupils in South Africa, as part of a twinning project funded through the Connecting Classrooms initiative.

The school has been chosen for its commitment to deliver high-quality physical education. Teachers and students are working with Khanya Lesedi High near Johannesburg to develop their skills for working in a global economy and learn how to become responsible global citizens.

Headteacher Colin Taylor says links with Khanya Lesedi High have been developed over the past four years, and on visiting South Africa in 2009 he was able to experience the "rich culture of art, music and sport already at the school".

"Our staff and pupils have benefited greatly from our links and I am sure that through Connecting Classrooms we will further enrich our curriculum," he says.

Connecting Classrooms is a joint initiative between the British Council and the UK government to boost global education. Its support will enable Newbattle High PE teachers Suzie Fegen and Bob Foley to travel to Johannesburg in May for an exchange visit, where they will take part in sport-based projects, deliver staff training at Khanya Lesedi and a local primary.

Newbattle teachers will also advise the schools on how to set up a pupil council similar to the one at Newbattle High, to allow them to have more say on their learning and school life.

Mr Foley says the objectives on the trip will be challenging: "We want to help staff upskill and have confidence to deliver high-quality dance and PE to all their pupils.

"Our involvement will ensure that a pupil council is set up and test the computer system which will allow regular communication with Newbattle's Pupil Voice, allowing regular email communication".

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