Embrace culture of global partners

19th March 2010 at 00:00

Your article "How overseas links mean well, but ..." (March 5) highlights why well-managed international school links can be so valuable to the education of young people and to forging lasting relationships between future generations here and elsewhere.

The British Council works with more than 7,700 schools throughout the UK, supporting them to establish a meaningful international dimension to pupils' learning, with countries as varied as South Africa, Pakistan and Brazil. We offer training and advice to teachers to help them create lasting two-way links with their partners.

Dr Fran Martin's research raises important issues that need to be addressed. However, we know from experience that when schools put in the commitment to challenge preconceptions, international partnerships can be one of the best ways to help pupils see beyond cultural stereotypes and build real understanding of the world they are growing up in.

The positive impact such partnerships can have on community cohesion has been recognised in Ofsted reports, and research from the Institute of Education has shown that in 21 out of 28 UK schools, partnerships helped students develop an understanding of other cultures.

Olga Stanojlovic, Director, Schools in Education, British Council.

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