As we reflect on the challenges and events across the past school year, all of us at the Global School Alliance are delighted to celebrate and recognise the impact of our inspirational global community of educators. Thousands of global educators in thousands of schools across the globe are embedding excellence in developing a global dimension in their curriculum and ethos; testament to their vision and inspiring commitment to opening up their classrooms to enriching, innovative and creative global working. We would like to say a huge thank you for the support from a large range of organisations, institutions and committed individuals who share our profound belief in the key development of global activities and global citizenship in all our schools.

The global dimensions of teaching and learning have always been at the heart of work of the Global School Alliance and we are proud to celebrate the outstanding work taking place in schools across the globe. You have demonstrated such excellent commitment to supporting globally aware young people across these last 12 months and brought the world into your classrooms.

This year we’ve reached the great milestone of being represented in 130 countries worldwide; building engagement and trust through the exchange of knowledge and ideas.

I’m proud to have started with the Alliance in October and we continue to grow and highlight that profound commitment to globally aware young people.

We celebrated the hundreds of schools that have been recognised with our motivational Global School Awards. The Awards focus on forming global links that bring a global dimension to young peoples learning and ensure that they develop the skills and understanding to take their place in the world.

The need for this is summed up beautifully in a quote from the author Marshall McLuhan which I saw displayed in a primary school recently: ‘There are no passengers on planet earth, we are all crew’. Our Awards recognise the brilliant commitment from schools and celebrate that authentic learning and recognises this great work. Schools everywhere need to be celebrated and rewarded for all the hard work that goes into developing and sustaining overseas links and powerful learning outcomes that equip young people to become the confident and empowered ‘crew’ of our global society.

It has been a year when much has happened in the world that has shocked, enthralled and united us. It has become increasingly important to engage with cultures and societies that are different from our own, to learn from and share with one another, and to act together to address global concerns. We recognise that now, more than ever, the importance of connecting young people and educators around the world through a hub of great schools to further equip them for living and working in our increasingly interconnected globe. The inspirational work in comparing and contrasting lives and cultures strengthens understanding and relations between countries but also to build greater mutual understanding in and between our own communities. Our inclusive and supportive monthly webinars encourage schools to make the most of their overseas partnerships and celebrate language learning, shared values and skills and raising standards and supporting the key Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) across the curriculum and ethos of the school.

We recognise that now, more than ever, the importance of connecting young people and educators around the world through a hub of great schools to further equip them for living and working in our increasingly interconnected globe.

I was also fortunate to visit schools and launch our School Ambassadors scheme and what struck me each time is the creative and inspiring work undertaken every day by educators. I am amazed by the diverse range of international activities going on in all our schools; from the small rural primary, through to the large urban secondary and innovative special school; educators are raising young people’s awareness of the wider world, challenging stereotypes and developing their empathy and respect towards others on a daily basis. I am in awe of this commitment to building understanding and making learning ever more real and relevant for young people, even in the most difficult and challenging circumstances.

I’ve always believed that globally minded educators are the most important people in the world and I’m proud to work with, and learn from, schools involved in incredible global work. for sharing, celebrating and embedding global/ activities and for your inspirational support for excellence in international teaching and learning.

Many thanks to every educator that has embraced the Global School Alliance and contributed to its success over the last year; we look forward to working with even more schools as we continue to grow and develop and we wish you well on your own fantastic global journey.

John Rolfe MBE

Global Schools Community and Partnerships Manager, Global School Alliance