As part of the Global Student Engagement campaign, the Global School Alliance and sister company True Education Partnerships ran an exciting competition to award schools around the world with transformational programmes to kickstart their journey to becoming a Global School.

During a live prize draw, Riverston School were selected as the 1st Prize winner and awarded with a free place on a Leadership Delegation as part of the Sister School Partnerships programme, a free place on a Student Exchange trip and a free Virtual School Partnership.

We spoke to Headmaster Mr David Ward and International Coordinator Mr Guy Baker to find out how these opportunities will impact their school.

Interview with Headmaster, Mr David Ward

Tell us about your school and its current international links/ambitions

The school has links with a school in Ghana and is looking to enhance their global knowledge and understanding, the awareness of students around the world.

What does it mean to you and your school to be awarded these prizes? 

Amazing, the opportunity to send staff and then pupils. We look after children from 12 local authorities around London. The opportunity to travel is restricted by cost and so this will give us the chance to make our vision become a reality.

What are your aspirations for this Sister School Partnership and international connections?

To connect and work with a similar school to enable both schools to learn from each other and have a better understanding of supporting and helping others.

What would you like your staff to gain in terms of training from the leadership delegation?

How organisations work, delegate and support in different settings and the issues faced by school leaders. The fellowship and ability to connect with those in similar leadership roles.

What benefits would you like your students to gain from the intercultural experiences and future trips? How do anticipate this will benefit them long term?

Our school is very multicultural from various backgrounds but from various areas of London. To widen their understanding of the world and how others live 7 work. The opportunity to travel and see other places of the world and their culture will be so beneficial. Long-term relationships and connecting staff will be the main aim of being part of such a scheme and opportunity.

Interview with International Coordinator, Mr Guy Baker

What impact will these programmes and opportunities have on your students?

Many of our students have had little opportunity to meet people or experience life outside London, let alone the UK. Many of our young people have led quite sheltered and isolated lives. Being restricted financially alongside high levels of anxiety have prevented them from travelling and meeting new people. The programme will provide the chance for our young people to make links with people from different backgrounds and cultures as well nationalities. It will help them develop a global perspective, enhancing their knowledge and understanding of the world beyond their communities and own lives. We also hope it will inspire them to want to learn more, to travel and become curious about the world around them.

How will the school incorporate the international link across subjects/school ethos?

Chatsworth Schools are looking to launch a new curriculum underpinned by holistic learning threads. The Tapestry will be made up of six different areas which will run through all areas of learning and underpin the personal develop of all our students. One of the threads is global learning, and so in the new academic year and those to come, we are looking to develop our students’ understanding of global issues and to engage with an international community. We want our students to grow into adults who contribute to a world community, to make lifestyle choices that have positive effects on this community and to learn that working together can enrich all our lives. We will look to develop project work, community support initiatives and collaborative learning with other schools. This can cascade through all subjects. Where our parallel curriculum learns by topic, the termly topic can be inspired by the international links we create.

What skills can your students develop from peer-to-peer connections?

Aside from the basic social skills that come from meeting and talking to people from different places, many other skills could be fostered here. Our speech and language team would enjoy the opportunity for students be able to practice skills learnt in sessions, like simple turn taking, asking relevant questions and showing interest in others. Written correspondence, through letter writing and emails would not only provide the opportunity to improve literacy skills, but practice functional skills like structuring letters and emails. More broadly opening horizons, meeting new people and learning about the challenges and lives of children from across the world will really aid the personal development of our young people.

How will an appreciation for culture aid language learning?

Meeting new people and learning about the challenges and lives of children from across the world will really aid the personal development of our young people.

Mr Guy BakerInternational Coordinator at Riverston School

Learning languages is not something that students at Riverston have a big focus on or interest in. However, one would hope that through developing a knowledge and understanding of different cultures and countries, students may start to develop interests in visiting other places and learning about other countries.

What do you hope your students gain from trips to visit their partner school in the future?

This is something many of our students have never had the opportunity to do. Going abroad and seeing different parts of the world would be crucial in developing global perspectives. Many of students would never have the confidence or financial means to go abroad outside school and so it would be a wonderful chance for them.