Connecting Classrooms is a global programme that creates partnerships between clusters of schools in the UK and others around the world. These partnerships bring an international dimension to young people’s learning, to improve their knowledge and understanding of other cultures and prepare them for life and work as global citizens. Minsthorpe Community College, along with Hemsworth Arts & Community College and Ossett Academy in Wakefield form the ‘Wakefield Cluster’ that has as its partner, schools in Beirut, Lebanon.
Back in February 2012, myself and Mr Alex MacIntyre (head of Geography) went down to London to meet our partner colleagues from our partner school – College Protestant Français, Beirut. It was an excellent two days. We planned our 3 year project as well as our proposed visit to Lebanon.
The first activity within our project plan took place back in the summer term. All of Y7 and Y8 students made ‘culture boxes’ during their humanities lessons and sent them over to Beirut for the students at our partner school to open. They were very well received as you can imagine! As always, our students were very generous and filled the boxes of things which informed the Lebanese children of our culture here in Yorkshire.
Our second activity took place on ACE day 1 last month. It was a fantastic day and was designed to raise cultural awareness amongst all students at Minsthorpe. Many activities were filmed during the day and many things were made to show the different cultural celebrations we have in our country. These were then taken in person to Beirut by our very own Mr MacIntyre at the end of November!
Trip to Beirut 2012
The Wakefield cluster was represented by Louise Kinnard of Hemsworth and Alex MacIntyre of Minsthorpe. They flew out to Beirut on Saturday the 24th and returned on Saturday December 1st. The Saturday and Sunday were spent finding their way around the city and meeting fellow staff ahead of the week in schools. On Monday Mr MacIntyre spent the full day at College Protestant Francais and was treated to a musical display by two `terminale` students (A level equivalent ). After this he went into various lessons and talked about Yorkshire and the project and that the ultimate aim would be to incorporate some kind of `exchange visits` in the future. The students’ parents pay around $5000 US per year to send the students to the school and they seemed driven and pretty much all were tri-lingual (English, Arabic and French). Students there are interested in pretty much the same as Minsthorpe students, football and `One Direction` and, pleasingly, most knew who Sheffield Wednesday were… !!The second day was spent helping to create a display showcasing the Connecting Classrooms Project and on the Tuesday evening some Lebanese staff and Mr MacIntyre plus our Lebanese colleagues presented the work they had done to the French Ambassador no less and the British Council representatives. The presentation went well and they clearly saw that much work had been undertaken by the staff at Minsthorpe to go towards the project, with an entire day being dedicated to cultural awareness (ACE Day 1) and an entire week in Humanities to activity one which saw us post out ‘Culture Boxes’ to Beirut. The unequivocal `response` was that they wanted the project to continue and could see how fully we’d involved our students in it. On the Wednesday staff met to discuss the next stage of the project which will focus on Road Safety and should be completed by the end of March 2013. Thereafter we can apply for more funding and hopefully create a long-lasting link and friendship between the two parties.
Mrs E Fairhurst (Vice Principal) and Mr A MacIntyre (Head of Geography)