Young boys standing in front of a poster of sports player at school Baltasound Junior High School, Shetland Islands © Caroline Massie
Young boys standing in front of a poster of sports player at school Baltasound Junior High School, Shetland Islands © Caroline Massie ©

© Caroline Massie

Having seen how much Luol (Deng) has achieved in his life and looking at his background, they are beginning to realise that if they put their mind to something, there is every possibility that they will achieve it! Baltasound Junior High School, Shetland Islands © Caroline Massie

School Linking with the BBC and LOCOG

In collaboration with the BBC, the British Council facilitated 2,547 new school partnerships, bringing 916,740 students, 30,558 teachers and 5,093 schools together across the globe. Our main role was to identify international partner schools for the UK schools through British Council Schools Online.

The BBC ran a campaign called Twin for 2012 which encouraged schools to join their World Class on-line forum and find partner schools through the British Council. Teachers and pupils involved in the partnerships shared creative work inspired by the Olympic and Paralympic Games and took part in the World's Biggest School Assembly.

Through the BBC’s World Olympic Dreams project, schools were also encouraged to join World Class and find international partners through the British Council. This project followed the lives and progress of 26 athletes from around the world as they trained for London 2012. The British Council enabled 88 schools in the UK to partner with schools attended by World Olympic Dreams Athletes from 19 different countries.

"I have learned from my students that they have interesting backgrounds and life stories. My school and Bedford as a whole is very multicultural. Students didn’t always talk about some of the experiences, challenges or their cultures before we took part in twinning. I think it has allowed them to express themselves and to celebrate where they are from." - Michael Cox, Teacher, Bedford Academy.

These projects were fully supported by LOCOG who promoted school linking opportunities through their Get Set Network in support of Get Set Goes Global. By July 2012, 26,376 schools in UK had registered with Get Set and 20,471 of those had applied to be a member of the London 2012 Get Set Network. LOCOG’s partnership with the British Council gave these schools the opportunity to find international partners in the build up to the Games. LOCOG set up an additional linking opportunity for schools whereby schools in the UK were linked with schools nominated by National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) worldwide. Over 100 additional school links were created through this project, with 16 of those links facilitated by the British Council.

Nielsen, London 2012’s research partner, conducted longitudinal research into the impact of Get Set for LOCOG. Research conducted in June 2012 highlighted that ’87 per cent of Get Set teachers ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that Get Set had ‘enhanced their young people’s understanding of other countries and cultures’ (up from 69 per cent in 2011). This increasing international awareness amongst young people in the UK is a clear legacy from the Games which the British Council helped to achieve by providing schools in the UK with international school linking opportunities.

The British Council is aiming to sustain this legacy through its Connecting Classrooms programme. Schools that found partners in the run up to the Games have been given the opportunity to continue their partnership by signing up for the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms programme.