In any partnership between schools, keeping the momentum going can sometimes be a challenge. However, many schools agree that the benefits are well worth it. That's why we've put together some practical suggestions to help you sustain your working relationship.
Make your projects meaningful
Your partnership should have genuine educational aims and any joint curriculum projects need to explore global themes. Here are a few quick ideas that can help to keep everyone engaged:
- Plan activities that support and complement your current curriculum and lesson plans (i.e. activities shouldn't be 'add ons')
- Always run joint activities that involve group work. Project work is more effective and rewarding when done in groups.
- Involve your pupils in activity planning. If they're enthusiastic about the work, your projects are less likely to fall flat.
- Remember that small projects can work just as well. Longer, more ambitious projects have greater potential not to get finished.
- Ensure that projects help pupils think about how the global issues you are looking at fit into their own lives.
Don't forget about our collection of free resources and ready made templates, designed to help you run creative and engaging joint projects on global themes.
Having an equity based relationship is crucial. Discussion and learning should always be two-way and reciprocal, with both schools contributing equally.
Sustaining a partnership needs to feel like a two-way street. We advise that it's a good idea to talk about your expectations around timescales therefore from the very start.
When communication fails, there are many factors that can be at play. Don't assume your partner is no longer interested; try to find a way to pick up the conversation again. For example, if you feel priorities are slipping, you could arrange a catch-up with your partner school to remind yourself of your joint objectives, share feedback and/or concerns, and explore how to get the most out of working together.
And remember, communication doesn't always have to be through one person i.e. your coordinator. Planning in regular opportunities for discussion between teachers and/or pupils is another way of keeping momentum. This also facilitates a more sustainable and fruitful school partnership overall.
Watch our video to hear two UK based teachers share highlights of their communication with a partner school in Sierra Leone: