Together We Learn has been running a successful school linking programme for over twenty years. We invite schools to join us in changing lives through education by engaging young people to learn more about the world around them.
A school link is a sustainable partnership between your school and a school in Ethiopia. Each link is a way of developing understanding between international schools, and Together We Learn works to support and sustain collaboration between teachers and students involved. Start your link journey today.
What are the Benefits of School Linking?
- Unique opportunity to communicate with and learn from young people of different cultures, helping students develop confidence and self-esteem, as well as practical skills to work towards a fairer world.
- Positive contribution to children’s mental health and wellbeing as they consider their own identities and how they relate to others’.
- Appreciation of diversity both locally and globally that can contribute to decolonising the curriculum.
- Personal and professional development for teachers.
- Bespoke linking resources and shared learning activities that enrich lessons across the curriculum. Our lesson plans integrate with Geography, PSHE, Music, Citizenship, RE and other subjects.
The school links programme is designed to encourage children to question the single story about ‘poor Africa’ which is often told, using the example of Ethiopia. Our teaching resources and newsletters:
- Introduce children to different aspects of Ethiopian culture they may not be aware of, such as the food, music and history;
- Present different stories from Ethiopia outside of the aid and development narrative, so they learn about things such as developing industries, trading health foods, and political systems;
- Invite pupils to question what they may have been told in the media about different countries and peoples, and investigate whether they are being told the full story.
What Does a School Link Look like?
At the start of new school link, a member of staff from our UK team can come to your school to deliver a welcome assembly. The assembly will introduce students to Ethiopia, explain the purpose of the link and provide students with an opportunity to ask questions about the country and international linking. When our staff visit from Ethiopia, they can also come to your school to do a workshop or assembly directly with the pupils.
Each term you will receive a newsletter from our UK team with relevant news from Ethiopia, a teaching resource recommendation with notes to relate to current events and updates and case studies from the work we are doing with children in Ethiopia. We encourage teachers to go through the newsletter with pupils and make it available on their school link noticeboard.
Our teaching resources are comprehensive packs including presentations and lesson plans. Each resource explores a different aspect of Ethiopia, encourages children to consider how their own situation relates, and is connected to the current curriculum. The resources are available on our website and each term we recommend a teaching resource that is related to current events.
Shared Learning Activities
Schools complete an annual shared learning activity together. This involves students from both schools working on the same exercise and producing drawings or letters that are then exchanged with their link school. The activities are designed to get both schools thinking from the other’s perspective and learning a little from each other along the way.
Student and Teacher Exchanges
Visits by teachers or students either to or from Ethiopia are a great way to cement the relationships forged through school linking. We have supported dozens of schools to successfully apply for teacher visit funding, and can support you to arrange your own student visit, or facilitate a development project visit.
Fundraising and Taking Action
We support schools to hold fundraising activities to support projects in Ethiopia. These might include providing safe drinking water and clean toilets, building new classrooms, or stocking a school library with books. On completion of a fundraising project, students in the UK get a certificate to commemorate their efforts and a photo update of the completed project.
Backwell and Angereb School Link
Backwell Secondary school in Bristol has had a school link with Angereb Secondary in Gondar since 2007. This has allowed a generation of Backwell and Angereb students to communicate directly through shared learning activities and school visits.
The students have participated in a shared learning activity every year and even contributed to our lesson resources by developing a curriculum on water use and sustainability in 2010. Backwell students have driven the link themselves, developing practical skills and global learning, by organising fundraising activities to build new IT and toilet facilities in Angereb and through visits to their partner school as teaching volunteers.