The Government is to fund more than 1,500 reciprocal links between schools in the UK and schools in developing countries over the next three years.
Funding of the Department for International Development's global schools partnerships scheme, under which schools carry out joint curriculum and development awareness projects, will more than double from pound;3.2 million to pound;7.5m. The number of schools involved will quadruple from the 370 which have been involved over the past three years, with a similar rise in the number from developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Hilary Benn, International Development Secretary, said: "The new funding is only part of the UK's commitment of sending every child in the developing world to school and giving more children the best start in life."
The programme is run by the British Council. There are two types of grant:
* one of up to pound;1,500 for the 5-10 day visit of a teacher to the opposite school and vice versa, to help cement the link between two or four schools.
* a global curriculum grant of up to pound;4,500 which allows two teachers to go across and share ideas on putting development issues into the curriculum.
There is an additional pound;1,500 available only to secondary schools and sixth-form colleges for at least one pupil from each school to go on an exchange.
Anderson high, in Shetland, is linked via the global partnership scheme to South Peninsula high in Cape Town, South Africa. Stewart Hay, deputy head, said work began by linking senior students of South African history and modern studies on the theme of "sharing pasts, shaping futures", and later took in biology students who filmed experiments, made presentations and were cross-examined on their work.
Dorton House special school for the visually impaired, in Sevenoaks, Kent, won a TESHSBC special school prize in the Make the Link Awards last year for its partnership with Milton Margai school for the blind in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Pupils from both countries have worked together on disability rights and conflict resolution, and have been featured on BBC Breakfast News.
The TESHSBC Make the Link Awards is offering pound;25,000 of prizes for schools and colleges with innovative international links. To enter the awards and to find out more about linking, visit: www.tes.co.ukMake_the_Link. To tell us about interesting developments in your school links, email: Make_the_Link@tes.co.uk