A SCHOOL programme aiming to connect children across the world has seen Biggar High School partner up with a school in east Africa. 

Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning is a UK Government-funded programme, run by the British Council, and has seen Biggar High School link up with St Anthony’s High School in Malawi. 

The scheme, which is free and open to all state schools, aims to connect British education centres with schools in 29 developing countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia in order to discuss global issues such as climate change. 

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Biggar teacher, Michael Durrington, says staff and pupils’ lives have been “hugely enriched” by the scheme and he would recommend other Scottish schools to get involved.

“We’ve found that it is a wonderful way of bringing communities around the world together, giving young people the opportunity to explore both the similarities and differences of growing up in different countries,” said Mr Durrington.

“The programme is a valuable tool for bringing learning to life and is helping shape the next generation of global citizens, by encouraging pupils in both schools to discuss their knowledge and experience of a shared topic, to discover that there is far more that unites us than divides us.”

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has urged more Lanarkshire schools to sign up to the programme, with funding grants available so that teachers can visit their partner schools face-to-face, once coronavirus travel restrictions are eased. 

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The deadline for the next round of applications for the programme is December 2. 

Regarding the scheme, Mr Raab said: “From Lockerbie to Kirkwall, this initiative is connecting Scottish teachers and pupils with schools worldwide to discuss – and find solutions to – global issues like climate change, while building friendships for life.”

Classes involved in the programme will be creating projects about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

Schools will be entitled to free support from local experts in Scotland while also connecting with their partnered school via letter writing and video calls. 

Darren Coyle, of the British Council, said: “We are delighted that Biggar High School is embedding learning for sustainability into their curriculum through participation in Connecting Classrooms.

“It has never been so important for pupils to understand the big issues that shape our world and equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to make a positive contribution.

“We hope that many more schools will opt to take advantage of the opportunities to connect and learn through Connecting Classrooms.”