Internationally Minded Schools

MARK Twain, in 1869, wrote travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 1:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th December 2019, 5:22 pm
GFM executive head teacher, Ian Potter. welcomes parents. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

These words inspire school leaders to strive to give students opportunities to broaden their horizons by learning about, and seeing the world. Indeed, we introduced a global curriculum that encompassed cross-curricular themes, project-based approaches and innovative teaching methodologies focusing on learning an international perspective.

Also, as a leadership team, we have built up a network of contacts across the globe which help to facilitate some truly life changing trips for our students. In recent years, they have learned Mandarin in China, worked with orphans in Malawi, studied schools in Jamaica, seen the battlefields of Gallipoli, Belgium and France and met Holocaust survivors at Auschwitz.

One very good example is Harry Williams who was inspired to become a doctor after a trip while at Bay House where he saw the work of medics in Malawi.

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As Harry’s case illustrates, these types of experiences benefit our students’ social, cultural and emotional maturity in ways which cannot be measured in exam results. But it is not just the students who are putting fresh dots on the map.

Earlier this year, we were approached by two academics from the University of Tennessee in America keen to learn more about the Gosport and Fareham Multi Academy Trust’s (GFM) community of schools working in partnership.

It may seem like a simple idea, but the education system in both the US and UK is structured to put schools in competition with one another. We decided to do things differently.

Amazed at what they discovered talking to staff during a visit to Gosport, they asked me, on behalf of the GFM, to present the findings at an international education conference in New Orleans in November.

I told them it is the power of collaboration which makes this model so powerful. Not just between the schools but between the whole town. We know that Gosport is a special place. Thanks to the work we are doing and our wonderful staff and students, the world is starting to learn it too.