INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL AWARD 2014-2017
DGGS has sustained and developed its international dimension and provision even further, and has once again been awarded the British Council International School Award. This re-accreditation runs for the next three years until 31st August 2017.
The British Council International School Award team had this to say about our application and our impact evaluation “a cursory glance at your programme of activities and related global themes is enough to reveal how well you have embraced the spirit of international learning in your school. At every stage you have clearly demonstrated your commitment to introducing and maintaining excellent practice across all areas of the curriculum.”
SUMMARY OF SOME OF OUR INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES
International activities across the curriculum are very much geared up towards cross-curricular teaching e.g. Humanities and French; Media and History and English Poetry and different languages. We have many events during our Curriculum Enhancement days with opportunities to make an impact on the international dimension of the curriculum. We have a Science Fair which attracts around 1500 visitors from the local community each year. We have over one hundred trips taking place each year. We have also introduced EAL (English Additional Language) projects with international competitions such as poems and songs and the International Mother Tongue day.
OUR PARTNERSHIPS – PAST AND PRESENT
Some of the many examples of opportunities that have been or are currently offered to students include: the Gambia expedition, the joint partnership Swiss work experience exchange, the Hanau music exchange, the German pen-pal scheme, the Malta netball tour, the French exchange, the Japanese exchange visit, the Ghana partnership, the Erasmus projects with Germany, the Swedish link, the French partnership and the business trip to Amsterdam.
The Ravensbourne School, Leigh Technology Academy, Wilmington Grammar School and St Olave's are examples of schools who have agreed to link with us to make our sharing of good practice possible and enhance our partnership work.
Not only do we show that the international dimension is fully integrated into our whole school ethos, but also that there has been a significant impact on our learners and their personal development as a result.
Over the past 4 years, we have maintained all the trips and exchanges, apart from the Gambia which is not possible for this year because of the concerns with Ebola. We are however in the process of launching two expeditions, one in Bolivia and possibly one in Nepal.
As well as exchanges and visits, many DGGS students have overseas pen pals and the whole school helps students from schools overseas to make what is likely to be, their one and only trip out of their own country. Members of staff work hard to continue to foster an international dimension to help our students live and work as global citizens.
The school continues to enhance its provision and is in the process of introducing Mandarin as an extra language at our school
IMPACT ON TEACHERS
Teachers are dedicated and take personal responsibility for organising cross-curricular events during their free time. International work in the curriculum has encompassed collaborative projects with our partner schools helping to develop a wealth of global enrichment, social, moral and cultural awareness and ensuring that students are prepared for the diverse nature of the global work place ahead of them. With our society and its economic and social demands changing so quickly, we are aware that we need to make a difference to our students' future prospects. Teachers are doing everything they can in the time they have to develop our students' international awareness and give them skills that are important to employers. Everything the school is doing in terms of enrichment is vital to prepare students for life in the global society that they will be building it in the future. Without the dedication of the teachers at DGGS and the response they give when they are asked to launch special enrichment programmes, projects or activities, the ISA could not even be contemplated. However, it is because of what takes place in our school that it is important to recognise and acknowledge their efforts and reward them with sustained international status. The ethos is also there between teachers thanks to our international policy which it is revisited at the beginning of each year so that new members of staff are fully aware of our school values, aims and vision.
IMPACT ON STUDENTS
Our students are of mixed cultural and ethnic backgrounds and benefit from learning about other cultures every day. They take this experience to their classroom and their learning and remember their experiences for the rest of their lives. The skills they learn are transferable in the world of work and their level of awareness, tolerance, acceptance and knowledge goes from strength to strength until they are ready to go to university and to face the challenging world of work. Students in our school are academic and value their development as a person too. The vast majority of them have great aspirations and ambitions and love the idea of taking responsibility for worldwide projects, campaigns and activities. They value this as an experience which will make a difference and give them better chances when they apply for universities and jobs. The students from abroad also benefit from joining our community and our school life. They also provide us with an insight into their lives and experiences, which is valuable for our lessons. The students from abroad learn from us as much we learn from them. The reciprocal partnerships we have make it a unique and memorable experience for our students. The input from "real people" in a "real context” is second to none. Our students have the opportunity to give their own identity some importance and meaning too, and we can then celebrate our diversity.
IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
The most rewarding experience for our students is to host and learn from other cultures and students. This has become part of our daily life here at DGGS and we are proud to be able to invite our local community to our events, and other schools to join our projects. This way of life has given to our community a sense of globalisation and we are so proud to be able to support multicultural and multinational projects so frequently throughout the school year. This is all carried out within the time the school community can find. Students give up their time, teachers offer their time and support and parents and the community respond to our call for help despite the many other academic demands and pressures.
Community cohesion is important in the economic climate we are in and it is great when we can collaborate with our European partners and find staff willing to take on projects in Africa or Asia for example. The school hosts international partners but also local communities when we run major events such as our Science Fair, our multicultural evening, our arts festival and many sporting events.
We have our network of schools willing to share projects as well, which is an asset. We focus on collaboration more frequently than competition. The community values our charitable contribution but also likes coming to support our events.
The school's values and vision to develop leadership opportunities for students and give students the opportunities to join international activities and projects can only continue to enhance our multicultural spirit which is at the heart and soul of our school. Our involvement with local schools, the local community, our European and international partners and our constant efforts to launch new projects with current and new staff joining the school each year, brings new ideas and dimensions to our school, year on year.
This year, the school will be taking part in the Global Learning Programme and join a network of local schools to share good practice. As we develop and progress as an international school in the next few years, we hope to become a facilitator for delivering workshops in other schools and possibly become an expert centre.
From learning about the importance of the global context we live in, through a whole range of international educational activities and good careers advice, our students will be better prepared for tomorrow's society and be more open-minded in their future careers and travels. The impact on students is memorable and significant, even more so when it is innovative. With technological developments across the world we will keep on searching for new ways of enriching students on a global level.