About Peterbrook's International Links
The Peterbrook Primary School Keys that appear on our school crest are the Keys of Knowledge and Friendship. We believe that they symbolise the aim for our children: to develop a knowledge and an understanding of their world, with all its diversity, and a recognition that we all have a part to play in our global economy as a school and as a community. The task for all educators is to encourage children to view themselves as global citizens with a care and concern for others internationally, as opposed to the other option, which is one of rich nations versus poor and the development of an even more obvious culture of the 'haves' and the 'have nots' across the world.
As part of this aim we offer our children the chance of experiencing other cultures through direct links with children in other parts of the world. We have had or are currently in active partnerships with:
Ecolé des Turbaudières, Cholet, France
Links have been established with all these schools, and are at Principal/Headteacher, staff and pupil levels. Our partnerships continue to enable all of our children to regularly communicate as e-pals together and in addition our teachers are able to exchange curriculum information and good teaching practices.
Our programme for 'International Developments' are included as a part of our School Improvement Plan, and are designed to strengthen and develop those ties through exciting joint-curriculum projects.
Our International links began in 2000 following our successful OFSTED Inspection Report. Our school was praised for the way in which the profile of the Arts was maintained alongside the major initiatives in Literacy and Numeracy.
As a result, we were invited by Solihull Education Department to represent the Authority in an ambitious three year project with partner schools in Cholet, France and Botosani, Romania. Following planning meetings in the three countries over a three year period, a musical 3-act Opera, entitled 'Le serment aux etoiles' or 'Oath to the Stars', was composed.
The children in each school were responsible for writing the words of an act, while the musical directors linked to each school composed the music. The operas theme was the world through the eyes of children. The Romanian children, in Act 1, depicted the guiding influence that the stars and heavens have upon the destiny of the world. Peterbrook children, in a moving composition that involved such diverse formats as country and western music, calypso, and Rap, presented the ills of the world as children see them, that is as, death, destruction, war and poverty. The French children offered a hopeful solution in remembering the promise that the heavens have given the earth, and the oath to the stars that we must give in return, to make our world a better place in which to live.
At the end of a week in Cholet, France, when e-pals became real pals, and after rehearsals in the Ecole de Musique, the performance took place. It was a world premiere, screened on French national television, when almost 170 children from three countries, performed magnificently, to a live audience of 2,500 people.
The experience for children, teachers and parents was extraordinary, and it inspired us all to develop more French links for our children which have continued to this day with our established link with Ecolé des Turbaudières in Cholet. China presented us with the next new opportunity.
We are very proud of our association with AnZhen No.2 Primary School, Beijing, China. Our relationship began in December 2001 when we contacted the British Council to see whether we could establish a link in a contrasting country. We were invited to become the first school in the world to twin with a primary school in Beijing, China. We were delighted at the prospect! Two days before the end of the Autumn Term we received an e-mail from Lui YuYing, Principal, inviting us to Beijing in February 2002.
It was a fantastic experience. We were completely humbled at the welcome, friendship and generosity we received during our six day stay. Links were made at Principal and teacher level, and meetings were held to set up e-pal arrangements for our children. We were introduced to the Assistant Director of Education for Beijing, and the Head of the ICT department of the city, with a view to forming a primary school internet site. We observed lessons in English, Art, IT and P.E, and were invited to teach English and Music to AnZhen pupils.
The sights of Beijing are truly spectacular. The Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, The Great Wall, The Science Museum were all wonderful : an experience that will never be forgotten.
In June 2002 we returned the compliment. Madame YuYing and Li Xin, the schools Citizenship Co-ordinator, spent seven days in Solihull as our guests. During the week, meetings were held to develop existing curriculum and electronic partner links for children and staff. Arrangements were made to receive two more Peterbrook teachers in Beijing in October 2002. This visit was successfully undertaken.
Since then Madame Yu Ying has retired, and Madame Nie is now the Principal. We received an invitation to visit AnZhen once again in October 2004, when four staff visited for ten days. This visit incorporated a three day music and dance project with AnZhen pupils. It also involved the teaching of traditional English songs and English Country dances with the AnZhen children.
The years have rolled past us, full of excitement and developments with our colleagues in Beijing. Sixteen Peterbrook teachers have taught in Beijing, twelve Peterbrook pupils have performed a musical in Beijing (2008) in English and Mandarin and four Beijing teachers have been involved in year long placements at our school to teach Mandarin to Key Stage 2 pupils. In 2012 AnZhen No.2 pupils and their teachers came to Peterbrook to participate in our inaugural Friendship Min-Olympic Games Festival.
Having been awarded 'International School' status by the British Council in January 2002, we were delighted to have the opportunity to form our third international link three years later when the Minister for Education for Belarus visited our school as a guest of Solihull MBC. In April 2005 we visited Stolbtsy No.3 School, near Minsk, Belarus and met with the teachers and students of a wonderful school for 4-16 year-olds. Following the signing of an Agreement of Understanding between our two schools, we were able to host a group of teachers and pupils from Stolbtsy in June 2006 at Peterbrook and a our link has gone from strength to strength. In October 2008, Mr. Carter visited Stolbtsy School once again to strenghten our ties and launch a new joint curriculum project for pupils in both schools. Sadly, due to a change in school personnel in Stolbtsy, the curriculum project did not materialise and regretfully we closed our link with Stolbtsy in October 2009.
Our next international partner came into existance after the terrible tsunami wave disaster in the Indian Ocean that struct Sri Lanka in December 2004. As a school we decided to try to help and after sending a sum of money to the Disasters Emergency Committee, we decided to try to help specific children. Guided by a Sri Lankan member of staff Mrs. Gunawaradene and our School Council members, we set about creating a link with the Lions Club of Padukka in Sri Lanka. In January 2006, the Lions Club identified two children for us to sponsor for a ten year period - Hiruni Sashikala and Ravindu Jayaweera (both aged 5 years at that time). Since that time, guided by our School Council and Key Stage 1 pupils, we have raised money annually to pay for the education of both children and we have also paid for furniture and other essentials for their modest homes. We regularly exchange pupil school work and we celebrate Posan Poya Festival Day each year with our pupils.
Our most recent international partnership was created in October 2010 when Ulriksbergskolan in Vaxjo, Sweden, became our final 'twinning' school. Solihull MBC arranged for 60 teachers from Vaxjo to visit our schools and four teachers from Ulriksberg School spent two days with us experiencing the Peterbrook approach to learning and our wider curriculum. Following this visit, a Peterbrook teacher from Foundation Key Stage (Mrs. Wright) visited Ulriksbergskolan to experience Swedish early years education, focusing predominently on storytelling, singing and outdoor education. As a result of these visits we have now created a variety of joint-curriculum projects focusing mostly on the younger children in our Early Years Foundation Stage (3-5 year-olds).
The future with our international partners is full of opportunities for our children and our staff. Our focus, as always, is to enable our children to view themselves, in terms of knowledge and understanding, as global citizens, and we do hope that you enjoy browsing our international pages which form an exciting part of our website.
Further international developments:
Peterbrook Primary School, High Street, Solihull Lodge, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 1HR
Tel: +44(0)121 4302545 firstname.lastname@example.org