Our latest European Schools partnership has commenced. St. Mary's has secured a new and exciting three year partnership entitled Erasmus+ - 'Fuelling the Future'. This Erasmus programme will link two schools from the UK with schools from Menorca, Turkey, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Our first meeting will be hosted in the Czech Republic where all schools will unite. After a formal welcome, judging will commence for the selected project logo. All schools will make their entries; the children have been working hard on their designs.
St. Mary's project mascot, our school bear, will be travelling with us throughout the partnership programme! We will be following his journey.
The theme of this programme is high on the environmental agenda - Fuelling the Future. Our meeting will outline an agreed agenda for all schools to participate in the project. The use of websites, twitter, in-house displays and communication via internet an Skype will keep us all closely informed and up-to-date.
Mrs Woodhouse, Mrs Smith and Miss Kelly travelled to the Czech Republic during the week before half term to teach in our Erasmus+ partner school in the village of Ostrozska Nova Ves. This was the first visit of a new project, working together to share teaching and learning practice with colleagues from across Europe.
The project aims to educate both teachers and pupils about utilising renewable sources of energy, a topic which is relevant to us all. It also aims to develop pupils' language skills through the visits, but also through exchange of letters and Skype conferences between classes across the partner schools in Menorca, Turkey, Sweden and with our friends from Saints John and Monica, Catholic Primary in Moseley, Birmingham.
During the week Mrs Woodhouse, Mrs Smith and Miss Kelly were teaching children about the use of wind energy and turbines. They also observed colleagues teaching and helped the children in the Czech Republic with their English conversation skills. The children were very keen to learn about our school, here in Studley. The visit included a trip to a hydro-electric power station, a water treatment plant and a visit to an ecological house.
There is much that St Mary's teachers can bring back to share with the children here in Studley. It is good to have developed new international links with colleagues across Europe and to share good practice. Mrs Woodhouse and the St Mary's team will share their experiences with the children in assembly this week.
Congratulations to Emily Gillin from Year 4, whose design for the Erasmus 'Fuelling the Future' logo was the winner chosen at the first project meeting in the Czech Republic. Her design was chosen out of many that were presented at the coordinators' meeting and will be used in all project work and correspondence. Well done Emily!
We wish Headteacher Mr Finnegan, Mr Preece and Miss Odgen a safe journey as they head to our Erasmus partner school Col.Legi Salesia Sant Francesc de Sales in Menorca this week. There they will spend time teaching and learning in a Catalan Silesian School, along with representatives from our other partner schools. If you follow our twitter site news of their experiences will sure to be available, and of course a full follow report will be available in the newsletter in due course.
During the week prior to half term Mrs Woodhouse, Mrs Smith and Mrs Richards visited Sweden - the third visit of our Erasmus+ project. They were given a very warm welcome by our hosts and friends from Edvardslundsskolan, Torshallen in Sweden.
St Mary's staff were teaching Swedish children about wind energy using wind-powered vehicles, tasking the children with making their vehicles as efficient as possible. The children had lots of fun learning about wind energy and competing with each other to produce the vehicle capable of travelling the farthest distance. The teachers also held English conversation lessons with the children to help develop their English language and their understanding of life in other countries.
Our teachers were observed by teachers from two partner schools in Turkey and were able also to observe Turkish and Swedish colleagues teaching. They learned much about teaching practice and pedagogy in Sweden from their Swedish colleagues and pupils.
One of the overall aims of the project is to develop sustainability and increase awareness of renewable sources of energy. During the visit, Mrs Woodhouse and the team were able to visit an innovative business in Stockholm, which is developing the use of solar energy in new and exciting ways. They also visited a biogas production plant. The biogas is used to fuel buses in the area and some cars. There is even a gas station that refuels vehicles with biogas in Eskilstuna.
The teachers also learned much about Swedish life and culture. The school held a traditional Swedish evening featuring traditions from Christmas, Easter and mid summer. During the evening the teachers learned about traditional festivals, including Santa Lucia. They were also entertained with traditional songs and folk dancing, enjoying a delicious smorgasbord.
St Mary's teachers used FaceTime to talk to our pupils here in school. This allowed the children to speak to some Swedish school children and teachers from Turkey, Sweden, Czech Republic and Ss John and Monica in Birmingham. The FaceTime was available on the large classroom TV screens. It was amazing that we could have such a clear discussion and for the children to ask questions of our international colleagues.
St Mary's teachers plan to share their experiences with the children after half term. It really has been a productive visit facilitating learning about language, culture and understanding of school life and teaching practice in Sweden. The experience has provided a fantastic opportunity to promote understanding of new and innovative technologies and mutual respect for other cultures and traditions.
Mr Finnegan, Mrs Furlow, Mrs Griffiths and Miss Kelly have been working in one of our partner schools, Doga Okullari in Alanya, Turkey this week. They are teaching about solar and wind power and sharing teaching and learning practice with our partners across the world.
On their arrival, they were welcomed with an outdoor assembly in which the children sang the Turkish national anthem and hoisted the flag. After, along with colleagues from Turkey, the Czech Republic, Menorca and Sweden they were able to share a little of our life and education system in England with the children and colleagues in school. We are pleased that they were able to share video clips of some of our year 5&6 children greeting each other in Turkish. One of the project's aims is that children will learn a little of other languages.