2017 eTwinning National Conference. UK award winners. ©

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2017 National Awards and National Conference

Teachers from across all four regions of the UK came together from Friday 9 June until Sunday 11 June 2017 to celebrate the 12th annual British Council eTwinning UK conference at the Jubilee Conference Centre (formerly the National College for Teaching and Leadership) in Nottingham. The event hashtag #eTuk17 was trending second in the UK throughout the weekend, with over half a million Twitter impressions made.

The overall theme of the conference was eTwinning and inclusion – tackling learning barriers for all, focusing on issues of equality, equity, diversity and inclusion in UK schools.

British Council’s, Mark Herbert, Head of Schools programmes and Ruth Sinclair-Jones, Director of Erasmus+ UK opened the conference by welcoming over 120 educators from across the UK and wider Europe, highlighting the impact of international work through eTwinning, Erasmus+ and other British Council international school programmes.

Founder and CEO of ‘Achievement for All’, and one of the UK’s leading practitioners of education and named in the 2016 Debrett's list of top 500 most influential people in the UK, Professor Sonia Blandford provided the first keynote. Professor Blandford shared both professional and personal stories linking her own experiences in education to her passion on raising the aspirations and attainment of all young people - regardless of their background or need - she said: 

“I want you to think about that child who doesn’t feel included; perhaps spends the whole day looking out of the window; or sitting behind the door and misses the curriculum – a child who does not participate in any sort of way - what happens to those children? We know now that all of those soft skills that you learn through that participation, that communication, that sense of belonging is actually what employers want".

Bestselling author of the children’s ‘Spy Dog’ and 'Spy Pups' series (which has sold almost a million copies worldwide), Andy Cope delivered the second keynote session, based on his PhD work and book, 'the art of being brilliant', which investigates the science of happiness and positivity. Andy’s witty and energetic session, which he delivers to businesses and schools throughout the UK, Middle East and Southern Africa, translated highbrow academia into simple messages that everyone can understand. He said:

“Only about 2% of people fall into the category of feeling consistently great. The “2%ers” stand out a mile. They are enthusiastic, optimistic, energetic and effervescent and possess a 'can-do' mentality. Research shows that they live longer, are more productive and raise the happiness levels of the people around them”.

The final keynote came from Jo Speak, who is a British Council schools ambassador and senior leader within primary schools situated in two of the most socially and economically deprived areas of Leeds. Jo’s emotionally charged session surrounded ‘inclusive pedagogies’ of embedding international work into a SEND curriculum and demonstrating how international partnership work and global learning have a key part to play in the social, emotional and academic development of her pupils. She said:

“We can make eTwinning what we want it to be, we can tie it in with school improvement priorities, we can embed it within our existing curriculum work, it’s not extra work!  We can make sure that our new arrivals in school foster a sense of belonging and self-identity, that they recognise where they are now and can celebrate who they are”.

Delegates attended a series of professional development workshops which used a range of resources and technology, including immersive and virtual reality and lego to demonstrate how eTwinning and international work can support:

  • SEND and Additional Learning Needs
  • Disaffected Learners 
  • Reaching those in economically deprived areas
  • Refugees and Migrants
  • Tolerance and Cultural Diversity
  • Pupil wellbeing

The conference presents the eTwinning National Awards, recognising outstanding projects in the UK, which took place on the Saturday evening. There were 11 awards presented across various categories and one award for the overall winning project.

View the full conference programme here. View live recordings and the event conversation on Twitter via #eTuk17.


Category: Entrepreneurship
Project: Learning to live like Global Citizens
Winner: Violeta Korkucyte, Regent's Park Children's Centre, England.
Podcast: Violeta's eTwinning experience (via SoundCloud - 3 minutes)
Pdf download (274 KB): Case study and winning Quality label application 


Category: Erasmus+ & STEM
Project: Engaging Students: STEM Clubs and Citizen Science
Winner: Elaine Manton, Loreto Grammar School, England.

Category: Healthy Lifestyle
Project: Workout, Nutrition, Health, Wellness
Winner: David Smith, Edenderry Primary School, Northern Ireland.

Category: Emotional health and wellbeing
Project: Agissons Contre le Bullying
Winner: Laurence Laminie, Ashton Park School, England. 

Category: Coding
Project: International Scratch Challenge
Winner: Ruth Wilson, Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, Birkenhead, England.

Category: Maths and the world around us
Project: Life is Math, Math is life
Winner: Ian Kell, The Academy at Shotton Hall, England.

Category: Inclusion and SEN
Project: AEI40D "Around Europe in 40 days" (joint winners)
Winner: Ruth Saunders, Ysgol Hendre, Wales and Aurelie Charles, Longfield Academy, England.  

Category: Social communication and empathy
Project: Twelve days of kindness- Advent Calendar (joint winners)
Winner: Carmen Rodriguez, Valley Road Primary School, England and Viera Matysakova, Pillgwenlly County Primary School, Wales.

Category: Collaborative storytelling
Project: Places and their stories:
Winner: Valentina Burley, Tendring Technology College, England.

Category: Learning to learn
Project: Winner: Marvellous Mistakes, Marvelous Minds
Winner: Paddy Carroll, Shaw Wood Academy, England.

Category: Global learning
Project: Europe 4.0 - Beam me to 2027
Winner: Valentina Burley, Tendring Technology College, England.  

Category: Use of ICT for communication
Project: Christmas Connections 2016
Winner: Diana Linford, Steeton Primary School, England


Dates: 9-11 June 2017

Venue: Jubilee de Vere (formerly the National College or Teaching and Learning), Triumph Road, Nottingham, NG8 1DH. 

eTwinning data: eTwinning is a free and secure online network, where teachers from 42 countries can find partners, work on projects and enable pupil collaboration across any subject area. The conference programme provided eTwinning Ambassadors, teachers and other stakeholders with high quality professional development opportunities and networking opportunities which contribute directly to a teachers’ ability to collaborate with peers and schools in different countries. There have been more than 473,000 teacher registrations across Europe on www.etwinning.net since the programme launched in 2005. The UK has reached approximately 23,800 UK registrations and has seen over 9,300 projects across all school sectors and subject areas.

eTwinning is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and is managed in the UK by the British Council. The British Council is the UK’s National Agency for Erasmus+, in partnership with Ecorys UK. 

Register on the pan European portal via www.etwinning.net  

For press and media enquiries about eTwinning contact: 

Karen Cleland, eTwinning Marketing Manager 
+44 (0) 289 019 2249 // karen.cleland@britishcouncil.org

For press and media enquiries and information about the British Council contact:
Kristen McNicoll, Senior Press Officer
+44 (0)207 389 4967 // kristen.mcnicoll@britishcouncil.org 

2017 Annual national awards - Highly commended projects

2017 - Highly Commended Projects

  • Project: Life Through The Lens 
    Winner: Sarah Gower, The Observatory School, England.
  • Project: A glimpse of France and Scotland 
    Winner: Nathalie Grzelak, Uddingston Grammar School, Scotland.
  • Project: One sky for all
    Winner: Balazs Kecskemeti, Ballysillan Primary School, Northern Ireland.
  • Project: Smart maths 
    Winner: Ian Kell, The Academy at Shotton Hall, England.
  • Project: Wojtek the Soldier Bear
    Winner: Diana Linford  Eastburn Junior and Infant School, England.
  • Project: Encore 
    Winner: Lorraine Oldham, King's Ely, England.
  • Project: eTwinning Noticias TV: We are active citizens
    Winner: Carmen Rodriguez, Grangetown Primary School, England.
  • Project: Let's Celebrate! 
    Winner: Allan Wallace, Hampden School, Scotland.

External links