It has helped me become enthusiastic about teaching again. It has been successful in helping the pupils talk and think and reason about issues as well as becoming more aware of world issues and broadening their horizons.
UK/Lebanon Partnership teacher, UK
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
Connecting Classrooms is a global education programme for schools, aiming to help millions of young people worldwide develop the knowledge, skills and values they need for life and work in a global economy.
Recent research and evidence has shown that the majority of education systems around the world, including in the UK, are not equipping young people with the skills they need in this rapidly changing environment. Every country needs a high quality, inclusive and equitable school system that helps equip young people with the knowledge, skills and values to contribute locally and globally. To achieve this we used our global network, exceptional training quality and close relationships with international education systems to form partnerships between schools and develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes of their young people.
This global-facing programme which connected schools across 40 countries, focused on the development of core skills alongside subject knowledge. We did this through training and connecting teachers, facilitating learning in a range of different international contexts, and engaging policymakers to extend their understanding of effective practice internationally and support their education policy development aspirations. We trained teachers online and face-to-face, developed relationships and promoted learning together and embedding core skills in their curriculum. They also accessed a range of classroom resources, including projects based on the Sustainable Development Goals, helping young people develop core skills and explore important global themes.
Since we began the current programme in 2015, we have reached over 750 policymakers, 13,000 school leaders, 30,000 teachers, and over five million learners in more than 40 countries worldwide, including the UK.
Teachers and school leaders report that their pupils have enhanced core skills and most feel they are teaching core skills effectively. There are positive indicators of teacher and leader professional development, online school collaboration, and enhanced understanding among policymakers. A total of 68 per cent of teachers and school leaders report that core skills activities are better preparing their students to contribute to society, locally and globally, with 75 per cent of policy and decision-makers reporting that the programme’s activities fully support their needs and priorities.
In terms of lessons learnt from the latest programme, a DFID consultation in Autumn 2017 highlighted demand for reinstatement of reciprocal visits to bring the partnerships to life; as previously the programme offered funding for UK teachers to visit partner schools. For Connecting Classrooms 4, two-way teacher travel has been re-instated.
This unique education initiative has encouraged the next generation of UK citizens to become global ambassadors for the UK and to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to respond to the challenges of the 21st century. It has taught them about issues beyond their immediate surroundings, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, and helped to make them global citizens through a network of classrooms and friendships around the world. It’s a win for children in the UK and a win for children in the developing world.