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Heads link up for German training

Dozens of Solihull headteachers are doing their in-service training in languages, technology and citizenship - in Germany.

The delegation of 53 heads was due to leave the West Midlands on Wednesday for a two-day trip to Solihull's twin district, or kreis, of Main Taunus, near Frankfurt.

They are members of the local authority primary partnership. Its chair Deborah Wilson, head of Yorkswood primary, said: "This year we decided to have our annual conference in Germany. It isn't any more expensive than a home-grown conference, but I feel we will get a lot more value out of it."

The heads are visiting schools to look at citizenship teaching, inclusion, modern foreign languages and information and communications technology.

Steve Taylor, head of 400-pupil Dorridge junior, hopes to build support for an international bid for information and communications technology funds.

He said: "My ambition is to get an interactive whiteboard into every classroom as soon as possible. That will cost around pound;3,000 to pound;3,500 for each classroom.

"I am looking for funding and it seems there is a lot of European funding to tap into for schools with international links.

"There could be tangible curriculum benefits by connecting schools across the continent through video-conferencing and other electronic communications. The only constraint is our own imagination."

Pupils at Dorridge junior learn Spanish in Year 3, German in Year 4 and French in Year 5, with help from the nearby Arden school and language college.

Mr Taylor said: "Establishing links with schools in Germany will have benefits for them in English teaching as well as for us."

The conference will build on a Young Citizens conference, which Solihull hosted last year for teachers and headteachers from Main Taunus and Solihull's other twin town of Cholet, France.

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