Whitefield has always sought to work in partnership with colleagues in this country and abroad. The school archives note that we were welcoming international visitors more than fifty years ago.
Today, we have active links with schools across the world, both playing host to international teachers and students and visiting overseas special educational needs settings. Visit the International News page to see recent our recent work.
The importance of international connections
Different countries have very different approaches to special educational needs and over the years the flow of information on best practice has very much become a two-way street. While Whitefield is frequently asked to advise on educational issues, we have also unearthed many nuggets which we have incorporated into our own teaching practice.
Moreover, since no country has a monopoly on best practice, Whitefield aims to act as a hub, through which our partners can learn about and evaluate approaches from abroad.
The school currently has just completed a project with Benito Menni School in Ghana, a partnership that started in the academic year 2011 – 2012 with Global Schools Partnerships. Eight reciprocal visits took place, with teachers spending 5 days in their partner schools on each visit. The partnership had a huge impact on all students and staff with shared activities and ideas reaching further across the school as the partnership continues. You can find out more about our work in Ghana here
Some other examples of recent visits include:
- A professor from Fukuoka University, Japan, who visited Whitefield as part of a research trip to the United Kingdom. The aim of her educational trip was to find out about learning assessments and methods of curriculum since specialised curriculum adapted to meet individual learning needs of children with SEN is still quite rare in Japan.
- 45 teachers visit from Lithuania whose main aim was to share practice and ideas and to learn of some of the challenges facing them in their own country when supporting students.
- A visit from the Principal of the Woden school in Australia during which we explored the commonalities and differences between our two countries’ educational provision.
- A visit from 20 head teachers from China who visited as part of a fact-finding tour of the UK education system.
Partnering with others
In addition to our own work, we work with a number of other organisations involved in international school activity
- The British Council – which accredits our overseas work through its International School Award programme, and through which we organise many of our international connections.
- E-twinning - an online community for schools in Europe which enables schools across Europe to find each other, meet virtually, exchange ideas and engage in online-based projects.
- The North London International Schools Network (NLSIN) – which provides frequent staff development events and cluster meetings. This provides the opportunity to speak about international work as well as highlighting developments in the local area. It is also invaluable for networking.
- Multi-Agency International Training and Support (MAITS) - an international charity which gives support to organisations providing services to people with special needs or disabilities in resource poor countries. In August 2011 a teacher and Speech and Language Therapist from Whitefield undertook a two week project in Mumbai, organised and funded by MAITS. IN 2013 members of Whitefield staff were involved in the production of a handbook to support SEN workers in Indian villages.
- LUMOS - a charity which has been working with professionals in the field of SEN to develop inclusive practice particularly in Eastern Europe. Whitefield Research and Development Centre has hosted two LUMOS events for delegates from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Moldova.
In the future we are hoping to establish a borough wide eTwinning support group and we’ll be exploring the new British Council Erasmus project. This was introduced with the aim of increasing student mobility within Europe and forms part of the EU Lifelong Learning Programme.
Naturally we will continue the excellent practice which goes on daily across our school, ensuring global learning is embedded in the lives of our young people.