Global learning and school partnerships

~ thinking it through

An important tool of many schools’ work around global learning is the development of school partnerships. Working out the aims and objectives of the partnership; recognising, understanding and talking through expectations; keeping curriculum and the needs of learners at the core; all this is complex and requires time, perseverance and commitment. But when thought through, it can enrich the school curriculum and deepen young people’s thinking about and understanding of ideas such as commonality and global citizenship.

It is important to recognise that this can also happen when the partnership is with another school in the UK. These partnerships can greatly benefit learners and schools in terms of building understanding between and within communities. Whilst all partnerships are complex, some of the difficulties that teachers face when working with schools in another continent, such as communication and different curricula, can largely be avoided when working with another school closer to home.

This article is not a guide on how to set up a partnership. The publications, websites, articles and organisations listed here have been selected to help you think through what you want from a partnership as well as how to go about setting one up. However, the following points are offered as a stimulus for discussion with colleagues, both within your school and your partner school.

What would you add?

There are 6 sections of resources.

  1. Thinking it through ~ articles to stimulate discussion
    These articles will support staff discussion in both partner schools.
  2. Curriculum documents
    School partnerships can contribute to these key initiatives.
  3. Setting up a UK partnership
    Sources of information for establishing a UK partnership. There is less information about this than overseas partnerships. If you come across other websites, articles or publications then please let us know. Contact us
  4. Promoting community cohesion
    A partnership between schools based in the UK, can contribute to the school's duty to promote community cohesion. This section gives recommended background reading on diversity and identity issues, useful websites, journals and recommended teaching resources.
  5. Setting up an international partnership
    Organisations offering support and guidance, and a list of resources that take you through the practicalities of setting up an overseas partnership.
  6. Support in the West Midlands

1. Thinking it through ~ articles to stimulate discussion

DEA Thinkpiece
Thinking about Linking?
Margaret Burr
Includes the author’s stories and personal anecdotes about linking, which highlight some of the issues and potential pitfalls.

School linking: a controversial issue, Author: Fran Martin
In this chapter Fran Martin questions the often uncontroversial nature of school linking and examines the factors affecting it.  Can be found in The Challenge of Teaching Controversial Issues, edited by Hilary Claire and Cathie Holden, Trentham Books, 2007

ISBN 978-1-85856-415-9

The first links should be within our own communities, Keith Ajegbo, Guardian
Suggests that partnerships between schools in the UK, can contribute to understanding between and within communities,,2210188,00.html

Primary Geographer ~ Focus on the global dimension and school partnerships, Number 62 Spring 2007, Contains useful articles, case studies and recommended resources.  Available to download from website, free to GA members.  Published by Geographical Association

Tide~ global learning
A number of useful articles can be found in the Tidetalk~ journal:

Learning about distant places at key stage 1, Sally Wood, Teacher, Chaddesly Corbett Endowed First School

Development encounters, Darryl Humble, Northumbria University

Conference reports
~ Learning about Africa, thinking it through
~ Quality global learning

Global learning ~ exploring the pitfalls, Elaine Miskell, Tide~

Bringing it together, Jeff Serf, University of Wolverhampton

2. Curriculum Documents

The Global Dimension in Action ~ A curriculum planning guide for schools, QCA, 2007
Practical activities and case studies to support schools planning to embed global learning in the curriculum.

Bringing the world into the classroom ~ Education for today’s global society, DfID, 2008
Booklet giving ideas for including global learning in the curriculum and where to go for guidance.

Developing the global dimension in the school curriculum, DfID/DCSF, 2005
Supports cross-curricular planning using the framework of 8 key concepts.

Guidance on the duty to promote community cohesion in schools, DCSF, 2007
Explains what we mean by community cohesion and how schools can contribute to it. Includes online resource pack.

Curriculum review: Diversity & Citizenship, Sir Keith Ajegbo, DCSF, 2007
Findings of Diversity and Citizenship Review Group, commissioned in 2006 by DfES to research ‘Diversity and Citizenship in the Curriculum’.

3. Setting up a UK partnership

Schools Linking Network
This site offers support for school linking within the UK through local authorities, directly with schools via the National Gateway and by offering courses, resources and advice.

School Linking in Diversity Education
A website set up to support teachers in Lancashire. Includes information on how to set up a UK link, case studies and how a UK link contributes to requirements of key government strategies.

Just Linking ~ A guide to linking schools
Explores the issues and practicalities of setting up a successful link within the UK.  Published by Leeds DEC

4. Promoting community cohesion

Trentham Books
Publishes a wide range of resources  for teachers on race equality, and a journal, Race Equality Teaching.   Some titles are recommended here.

Here, there and everywhere ~ belonging, identity and equality in schools
Developed from a partnership between schools in Derbyshire. Considers six ‘big ideas’ and identifies opportunities and openings for exploring them, in each subject area.  Robin Richardson, Trentham Books, 2004, ISBN: 978 1 85856 343 5,

What do we tell the children? ~ Confusion, conflict and complexity
Supports teachers – who may themselves be uncomfortable and confused – to talk to children about the sensitive and complex issues that partly derive from conflict connected to religious beliefs, political ideologies and philosophical life stances.  It suggests ways for teachers to respond, and the words to use.  Angela Gluck WoodTrentham Books 2007, ISBN: 978 1 85856 407 4

We’re all white thanks ~ the persisting myth about ‘white’ schools
Discusses recent ideas and strategies that support those seeking positive change in schools and communities. Includes suggestions for staff training and resources.  Chris Gaine, Trentham Books, 2005, ISBN: 978 1 85856 345 9

Equality stories ~ recognition, respect and raising achievement
A practical handbook for planning, staff training and professional development. The book tells the story of high quality inservice training on race equality issues and provides a model for other schools to follow. Robin Richardson and Berenice Miles, Trentham Books, 2003, ISBN: 1 85856 266 X

Tide~ publications
Produced by teachers, these sets of resources offer frameworks and ideas for exploring issues of diversity, identity & commonality.

Aims to promote a successful multi-ethnic Britain. Publishes handbooks, briefing papers, research reports and a newsletter Runnymede Bulletin. Also publishes the Real Histories Directory, an online resource tool for teachers, parents and pupils to encourage teaching and learning about cultural diversity across the UK.

One in three, Wolverhampton City Council
Celebrating equalities, diversity and inclusion for children and young people in Wolverhampton. Newsletter currently available to Wolverhampton schools via the intranet. Latest issue available electronically by request.

5. Setting up an international partnership


British Council
Offers a range of programmes, opportunities, guidance, CPD and funding for overseas school partnerships.

Link Community Development
From here you can find out about the Link Schools Programme.

UKOWLA [one world linking association]
UKOWLA supports links between communities in the UK and in other parts of the world particularly Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Latin America.


A good practice guide to whole school linking, Supports thinking about the practical implications of establishing a link.
Author: Lisa Young, Published by: MUNDI Global Education Centre,

Global citizenship Guides: Building successful school partnerships
Explores the educational opportunities of a partnership, the pitfalls, cornerstones for success and sources of information. Can be downloaded from the Oxfam website.  Published by Oxfam

Partners in Learning
A guide to successful global school partnerships
Draws on experiences of partner schools in the UK, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. A practical handbook that looks at how partnerships contribute to a global learning curriculum.  Authors: Ruth Najda and Ali Brownlie.  Published by Dfid Global School Partnerships

Toolkit for good practice - Opportunities and challenges, Published by UKOWLA

6. Support for school partnerships in the West Midlands

Tide~ CPD opportunities

Click here to see the current opportunities for teachers available at Tide~.

Bridges Development Education Centre
Based in Shropshire, Bridges has a resource base and offers CPD opportunities

Worcestershire Global Dimensions Base
The website offers detailed information about funding for school partnerships, local opportunities, funding application deadlines and events. The base itself stocks a range of resources to view.

British Council Regional Network for International Learning
For information about the network and Local Authority contacts by region in England and Wales  In the West Midlands contact Judith Young