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Perfect partners give and take

The TES's Make the Link campaign reaches its prize-winning climax as the country's most innovative schools are recognised for their outstanding work in setting up and developing international links between the world's children

Hove Park high, East Sussex, and Royal Forest of Dean college, Gloucestershire, were named international school of the year and international FE college of the year at the TESHSBC Make the Link awards ceremony in London on Wednesday.

The awards, which received 300 entries, recognise excellence in mutual international links that promote citizenship work, joint curriculum work and the sharing of teacher expertise. They were announced at a British Council ceremony in Congress House.

The prizes, ranging from pound;500 to pound;5,000, were presented by TES editor Judith Judd and William Parry, HSBC's head of sponsorship and events.

Bob Doe, former editor of The TES, on behalf of the school award judges, said Hove Park was outstanding for both the breadth and depth of its international links with schools. "With more than 40 curriculum link projects this year, nearly every member of staff has been involved in creating a school with an international ethos which is embedded in school policies," he said.

FE award judges Jo Clough, international director of the Association of FE Colleges, and Nick Lewis, principal of Broxtowe college, said the breadth and depth of Royal Forest of Dean college's links and their "wide impact on the study body" were impressive - from European collaborations on citizenship to a partnership with students and institutions in Kenya on Aids and fair trade.

The TESHSBC world school link award went to Seaton Burn community college, north Tyneside, for its enterprise links with several schools in Kenya.

The TESHSBC European school link award was won by Ysgol Y Dderi, a rural primary in west Wales linked to schools in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Norway, and Romania.

The other Make the Link judges were Ted Wragg, TES columnist and emeritus professor of education at Exeter university; Kate Griffin, president elect of the International Confederation of Principals and headteacher of Greenford high school, Ealing; and Denis Richards, a Qualifications and Curriculum Authority adviser and headteacher of St Aidan's C of E school, Harrogate.

A pound;500 special school award was created by the judges to recognise the work of Dorton House school, Kent, which has a link with war-torn Sierra Leone in which blind pupils exchange information using braille pads.

The TES launched the Make the Link campaign in March to encourage schools to make more and better quality links with schools abroad. Since then more than 4,000 schools have requested an overseas link in response to The TES's and other campaigns, such as BBC World Class.

The Make the Link awards were backed by the British Council and presented at its International Schools Award ceremony.

Judith Judd said: "School linking is an idea whose time has come. We hope the TESHSBC awards will encourage schools to give a truly international dimension to school life."

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