How to link with a school in China

Forming a link with a school in China can be an excellent way to make the learning of Mandarin and Chinese culture real. Links may involve the sharing of cultures, language and teaching experience and professional development of staff from both countries and enhancing the curriculum by supporting language awareness. By forming partnerships, schools can develop joint curriculum projects, exchange of students and teachers and develop language learning programmes together. This article explores the ways in which a school can form a link with school and how they can go about doing so.

 

FINDING A PARTNER

Global Gateway

Your first stop should be the Global Gateway’s website. The Global Gateway is run by the British Council in collaboration with the DCSF. Along with many other countries the British Council create formal links with China.

The Gateway has an easy to use school search facility though the advance keyword search is easier to pinpoint particular cities that you may wish to partner with.

Do take into account that athough some teachers from China register individually on the Global Gateway, it is much more appropriate to have a link with a school that has been sanctioned by the education authority in the region.

Many Chinese schools are keen to promote Mandarin, but even more keen for their students to improve their written (and sometimes spoken) English. Expect grammar queries, text-based communication and a need for curriculum planning.

London Beijing City Links

The London Grid for Learning (LGFL) is a partner of the Global Gateway, promoting virtual linking and coordinating links in Beijing, along with funding for visits and projects. You will find the project pages and contact details for all these borough links on the Learning Together LGFL London -Beijing linking portal. 

Any school within the LGFL serving region of London is welcome to contact the team that runs the London - Beijing portal; the boroughs named above already have their own linking coordinator and some access to funding so it is worth checking the website for this. Contact is Julian Vennis: jvennis [at] worldcitylinks [dot] net

 FUNDING

 School Linking Funding

What funding is available?

Funding is available for teachers and headteachers to undertake short visits to a partner school in any country to set up a curriculum based partnership or develop an existing link. Travel, board and lodging costs can be funded. The maximum grant per person for a visit to China is £1000.

Who can apply?

Teachers and headteachers from primary, secondary, and special schools, sixth form and further education colleges in England and Wales. How do I apply Please see http://www.britishcouncil.org/schoolpartnerships-school-links-china.htm  For more information including deadlines for applications. Please download an application form and guidelines and send completed forms to: China Programme, World Links and Partnerships British Council C&P 10 Spring Gardens London SW1A 2BN

DCSF Area Links Funding

What funding is available?

 Funding is available for teachers and headteachers to undertake short visits to a partner school in any country to set up a curriculum based partnership or develop an existing link. Travel, board and lodging costs can be funded. The maximum grant per person for a visit to China is £1000.

Who can apply

An area link may be between a local authority, an education action zone, a cluster of schools or any other group of schools working with an equivalent grouping overseas. The application should be submitted by the visit co-ordinator. The co-ordinator can apply for funding for up to ten people to vist the partner area to develop educational partnerships at both an institutional and a strategic level. This link can include primary schools, secondary schools, special schools, sixth form colleges and further education colleges (involved in the education of 16-19 year olds).

When should I apply?

Please see the British Councils website for more information http://www.britishcouncil.org/schoolpartnerships-dcsf-area-links-china.htm  and to download an application form and guidelines and send completed forms to the BC at: China Programme, World Links and Partnerships British Council C&P 10 Spring Gardens London SW1A 2BN

HSBC Areas Links Funding

What funding is available?

Supported by HSBC Global Education Trust and managed by the British Council, this programme aims to develop partnerships between areas of England and Wales and their Chinese counterparts – providing a strategic framework for school partnership within the authority. This will give schools a local network within which to share and exchange ideas as well as ensuring that partnerships are embedded in the schools and the wider community. Three partnerships will be funded each year for a period of three years. In order to apply for this funding you must have an existing partner in China. If you are looking for a partner region to make a strategic link with, please contact us separately.

Applications

Applications will be accepted again in the summer term 2010. Deadline to be announced. Please see http://www.britishcouncil.org/schoolpartnerships-hsbc-area-links-china.htm for more information

Application criteria

The area must: wish to develop a strategic link for joint curriculum and joint professional development be committed to introducing Chinese into the curriculum or as an extra curricula activity, as well as increasing the presence of China in the curriculum over the three years of the project must have a letter of commitment from the Chinese partner region Award Funding will be awarded at the start of the academic year. A grant of £8,000 per year for three years will be awarded to each successful district or area. The applicant needs to demonstrate how they will make the partnership sustainable once this funding is no longer available. The second and third year of funding is contingent on the submission of an annual report at the end of each academic year. British Council and HSBC Global Education Trust may also ask for an interim report for publicity, promotion or other purposes. Districts and the schools involved in the partnership are eligible to apply to other funding sources (including British Council but not HSBC Global Education Trust) to support related activities. The British Council will provide support and briefings for both partners giving information for visitors, advice and materials on how to make the most of teacher and Headteacher visits, on joint curriculum projects and other forms of financial support including language immersion courses for pupils. *This could be a LA/region/group of schools

Other Informal Links

Penpals

Communicating with penpals can be a good way for pupils to start to learning about China and life at Chinese school. It is also a simpler idea than having a Chinese partner school. EPals offer more informal email-based links with a free emailing and auto-translation service. This means that as well as practising some simple phrases you can also engage in more complex dialogue. Email is teacher-moderated and safe. Schools are to note however that it may take some persistence to track down a link school, and even more to get a letter exchange going. Finally when you are setting up such an exchange also do bear in mind the expectations of any partner school.

If you have any further information that you would like to be included in this article, please contact pete [at] bamboolearning [dot] co [dot] uk

Another article about the practicalities of organizing trips to China will be appearing on The Chinese Staffroom very soon.