Global Education and International Links
The world has never been so well-connected and interdependent. Young people who enter the world without a knowledge and understanding of global issues will be at a disadvantage in the workplace and in their personal lives. At SJL we aim to ensure that all of our students develop an understanding of global issues relating to both people and the natural environment. We want our students to become active global citizens who are well-equipped to make a difference now and in the future. This document provides a brief insight into some of the events and activities that take place.
Sir John Lawes is fortunate to be able to offer our students the opportunity to participate in exchange visits both in Europe and beyond.
- Elizabeth Langasser Schule, Germany (Exchange Visit for Year 9 & 10)
- Le Collège La Salle Saint-Laurent, Blain, France (Exchange and Penfriend Scheme, Year 10).
- Ndeke High School, Zambia (Year 10)
- Upper Dublin High School, United States Of America (Years 12/13).
The benefits of such exchange visits to our students are numerous - they immerse students in a different culture, help them to improve language and communication skills, encourage respect and tolerance and develop self-confidence.
In addition to the exchange visits the school also offers a number of other opportunities for international visits including World Challenge trips, a Geography trip to Iceland and a bi-annual sports tour.
The partnership between Sir John Lawes and Ndeke High School in Zambia began in September 2005. The decision to partner with Ndeke was made by the Geography department and a group of Year 9 More Able students who had volunteered to be part of an extra-curricular group focused on establishing international links.
The aims of the partnership between SJL and Ndeke are to:
- Enhance teaching and learning in both schools
- Promote international awareness and understanding and a sense of global citizenship
- Develop the global dimension of the curriculum within the schools.
The partnership between SJL and Ndeke has been supported through the British Council Global School Partnership Programme which has enabled us to carry out a number of reciprocal teacher and student visits as well as to carry out a range of curriculum work.
We have achieved a lot together in the years that we have been linked and look forward to continued successes in the future.
Sir John Lawes has received widespread recognition for its global education work:
- We achieved the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award in 2010, 2012 and 2014
- We achieved the International School Award in 2007, 2010 and 2013.
- We achieved the Fairtrade School Award in 2009.
Our global education work has also been recognised through our work with Oxfam as a Lead School and from the Department for International Development through their Global Learning Programme for which Sir John Lawes School was invited to be an ‘expert centre’. This means that we have a role in promoting a whole school approach to global learning to other schools in the area.
Global education in the curriculum
Global Education work features in a wide range of curriculum areas, including Geography, Science, History and Life Skills.
We also dedicate one of our enrichment days to global education.
- Year 7 focused on the theme of food and hunger and carried out activities aimed at understanding why people in the world are hungry and what can be done about it.
- Year 8 had a theme of sport and dance. They explored the difficulties faced by those involved in sportswear manufacturing through a role play called ‘Trading Trainers’. They also made footballs from plastic bags inspired by Ndeke High School and learnt dances from other countries culminating in an international dance competition.
- Year 9 were based in the Science faculty and explored a range of international themes from a scientific perspective including energy, water and Fairtrade.
- Year 10 held a Mock United Nations on Nuclear disarmament. Students worked in country groups to come up with a speech outlining their country’s position before a strict judging panel which included the Headteacher.
In addition to curriculum work, we offer a wide range of enrichment activities for students with an interest in global issues. Over the last few years these opportunities have included:
- Attending a Global Student Forum and subsequently being a ‘peer educator’ at SJL
- Taking part in the trip to Zambia and raising awareness and funds to develop the partnership
- Getting involved in the ‘Send my Friend to school’ campaign
- Running assemblies or helping out with international events at local primary schools
- Organising fundraising for international charities
- Taking part in campaigns on issues such as the Arms Trade and world hunger
- Participating in the work of the Oxfam youth action group or Amnesty Group
- Organising a collection of books for the local Oxfam book shop
Oxfam Youth Action Group
The Oxfam Youth Action Group is a student-led group that works to incorporate international issues within the school community. This is achieved through a series of campaigning, awareness raising and fundraising events. The group contains members from Years 7-13 and is open to everyone. Even students who don’t join the group have the opportunity to participate in many of the events the group run. The group has been so successful that they were even invited to 10 Downing Street, as part of their involvement with the Enough Food for Everyone If campaign. This shows that students really can have their voices heard at the highest level.
One of the big campaigns last year was focussed on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. The group raised awareness of the issue in all year groups, met local MP Peter Lilley to present to him the views of Year 7 students on the matter and hosted Staff Strictly Come Dancing. In the weeks leading up to this event, 7 couples practised their ballroom, salsa or tango, culminating in an evening of entertainment featuring some excellent (and some not so) performances, all in front of a capacity crowd. The evening was enjoyed by all and raised over £1000 for Oxfam’s work in Syria. The excellent refreshments this year were organised by a special Year 7 Oxfam group, which really added to the evening.
Another key campaign was the Behind the Brands Campaign. All students had the opportunity to take part in a creative petition, calling on Coca Cola and Pepsico not to use sugar that came from land that had been unfairly taken from the indigenous population. The group were delighted to see first Coca Cola and then Pepsico doing as the campaign called for. The students also organised a campaign around maternal rights, centred on a sale of cards and gifts for Mother’s Day, which raised over £100.
In the summer term, the group led activities for Year 7 students on the topic of inequality, both across the world and in the UK. The younger students had the opportunity to get involved with the ‘All Hands in to End Inequality’ campaign. As part of the nationwide Water Week campaign, the group sold ice lollies, with the money raised supporting those who have been displaced in South Sudan. The impact of this work also extended beyond the SJL community, with members leading workshops for local primary school pupils. To top it all off, another Year 7 Oxfam group worked on the Send My Friend to School campaign, which this year focused on the rights of disabled children to an education.