This year Oaks Park has continued the tradition of developing and expanding our links with our friends and partners around the world, including hosting visits from Chinese, Dutch and Austrian students, sending our own students to China and Austria and producing story books, recipes and letters for our partner schools.
We started in September with a Dragon’s Den competition promoting entrepreneurship and the small group of winners had the opportunity to visit our longstanding partner No.20 School in Beijing. There the students experienced the amazing culture, recognised how much harder student life is in China and marvelled at how the lessons are taught at the school. On their return, they were able to share these experiences with their peers and staff.
They took with them letters from our Year 7 students who are now studying the replies they brought back with them so that Year 7 gain a greater understanding of the similarities and differences between our two cultures and hopefully develop international friendships for the future. Students in Year 8 and 9 are also learning about China through hosting visits from students in two different schools, one in Shanghai and the other in Hangzhou, a small city of one million people on the coast between Shanghai and Beijing.
Following on from the very successful visit last summer, the company UK China Gateway sent us another 22 students and 3 teachers during the first week in February 2017. They were looked after during the day by students from each Year 9 tutor group and some Year 8 students, following the normal timetable for the week. It is a great testimony to our school community and the Chinese students that they were able to blend in so easily and have such a wonderful time. At the end there were some sad farewells as our students said goodbye to their Chinese friends at a small leaving assembly. The next visit is at the start of July when each Year 8 tutor group and one Year 9 will be hosting our student guests from Shanghai.
Year 8 and Year 9 are also involved in two international projects as part of our Erasmus+ project A Taste of Europe with our partner schools in Austria and the Netherlands, sponsored by the British Council. The European schools have been doing campaigns on reducing food waste and responsible water usage and these themes have been taken up in Geography and D&T. In D&T students have been doing a project looking at how food waste can be reduced and in Geography they have been researching ways of reducing plastic waste caused by excessive use of plastic bottles.
Year 10 and 11 students have also had the opportunity to work with our European partners when their students visited last October and we had sessions from the company Zeelandia on making bread, science practicals on types of food and selecting recipes for our international project cookbook. Some of our Year 10 students had a marvelous time visiting the Austrian school to learn about traditional recipes and cooking with food waste.
We have also continued our links with our partner school in Pabna, a rural district of Bangladesh who regularly sends us updates on their activities.
As usual, Year 7 students have been writing story books as part of their English curriculum and we will send them to our Bangladeshi partner as well as share them with the visiting Chinese. Year 7 also produced some impressive posters on International Human Rights as part of PSHE which were displayed in the canteen.
Finally this summer we have a French and Spanish creative writing project whereby our Year 9 students will produce stories and storyboards in French and Spanish to share with our partner schools in France and Spain.
Throughout all our projects we seek to promote the British Council global themes of Identity & Belonging, Rights & Responsibilities, Fairness & Equality and Sustainable Living.