North Devon schools in Iraq project

TWO North Devon secondary schools are among four in the county taking part in an ambitious programme to forge closer links and build greater understanding between the UK and Iraq. The schools are taking part in the Connecting Classrooms programme which i

TWO North Devon secondary schools are among four in the county taking part in an ambitious programme to forge closer links and build greater understanding between the UK and Iraq.

The schools are taking part in the Connecting Classrooms programme which is run and funded by the British Council.

Teachers from the four schools - Miriam Mehdi from St Peter's in Exeter, Joanna Hall-Tomkin from Park in Barnstaple, John Stanier from Great Torrington and Rachel Leverton from Clyst Vale in Broadclyst - have returned from a seminar in Jordan where they met some of the Iraqi teachers they will be working with over the next three years and began planning joint projects.

Students and teachers from the four schools will be linked with schools in northern Iraq and Baghdad to work on classroom-based projects.


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These will focus on themes ranging from the students' own daily life to matters of global concern.

Using the internet, the students will share images, ideas and experiences aimed at broadening their international horizons, increasing motivation in the classroom and preparing young people for life in a global society.

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The teachers will also be able to attend professional development workshops to help them make the most of their partnerships and their schools can enter for awards to recognise their achievements in internationalism.

John Stanier from Great Torrington Community School said: "It is a real privilege to take part in this project. Our Iraqi colleagues were generous and friendly people who were a pleasure to meet.

"It has really opened my eyes to the true nature of people in the Middle East and I am sure this project will do the same with students in school and the wider community."

Great Torrington headteacher, Dianne Nicholson, said: "I hope this project will break down many of the misconceptions that our pupils and the community have of the Middle East.

"This experience should enable our pupils to become true global citizens, especially as our school is committed to developing citizenship this year."

Park headteacher, David Atton, said: "It is important for our students living and growing up in North Devon to appreciate their inheritance as global citizens with those of other nationalities and cultures. This initiative offers a wonderful opportunity to realise this."

Joanna Hall-Tomkin from Park said: "This is a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas and to challenge any preconceived ideas.

"Our colleagues from Iraq were tremendously warm and friendly and I am very much looking forward to our pupils working together to build on the firm foundations laid by our initial visit".

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