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Global Learning Programme, Wales: supporting schools to develop children and young people as ethical and informed citizens of Wales and the world

30 August 2016

June 2016 saw an intense period of activity and the culmination of a successful year for the Education Development Trust Cardiff team leading on the Global Learning Programme, Wales (GLP-W), a UK government-funded initiative.

Over the year, the number of schools in Wales leading GLP-W* networks dedicated to developing global learning has tripled. This will lead to a substantial increase in the numbers of teachers supported by the programme to help develop a future generation with the knowledge, understanding, values, attitudes and skills needed to become active global citizens.

In addition to providing training for the new Lead School coordinators in Cardiff, two special events were held in Llandudno, North Wales. The first of these "Safe Havens and New Challenges?" set out to improve teachers' knowledge and understanding of population movements including refugees and asylum seekers, and empower them to tackle prejudice and racism in school. This training was very timely, coming just five days after the EU referendum result and coinciding with a reported rise in hate crime in the UK.

In her keynote speech, Gill Miller, Lead for International Development Studies at the University of Chester, explained the context for migration in Wales and highlighted recent research into its impact. A workshop from Show Racism the Red Card then invited participants to consider the effects of unconscious prejudice. The work of two GLP-W Lead Schools was showcased: Alun School demonstrated their cross-curricular, cross-phase approach to embedding teaching and learning about refugees, while Ysgol Ystalyfera showed how a school with no minority ethnic pupils tackled Islamophobia. As well as organising the event, the Education Development Trust team shared relevant resources and led a session looking at the portrayal of refugees and migrants in the media. To bring the day to a close, participants discussed scenarios related to incidences of racist behaviour in schools and shared ideas as to how best to respond to these with expert guidance on hand from Show Racism the Red Card.

The event was extremely well–received by participants who included English as an Additional Language advisers as well as teachers. The vast majority agreed that it had both improved their understanding of a complex global issue and helped increase their confidence to challenge prejudice and racism. "All the sessions were very informative. It was good to have the background as well as hear practical ideas" was just one of the many positive comments received.

"Safe Havens and New Challenges?" was closely followed by the GLP-W Summer Event for Lead Schools, held to share and celebrate effective practice in global learning. One of the highlights was the opening presentation by Year 6 pupils from local GLP-W Lead School, Ysgol San Sior. With enthusiasm and confidence, they demonstrated how sustainable development and global citizenship is truly part and parcel of the ethos as well as the curriculum of their school.

Ysgol Cwm Rhymni, one of the Pioneer Schools responsible for designing the new curriculum in Wales which will include global learning as one of its four statutory purposes, led a session in which teachers from both primary and secondary sectors collaborated in cross-curricular planning.  Participants also valued the opportunity to try out activities from the GLP-W online resource bank, share their own work and learn about adaptable tools designed to stimulate critical thinking.

"It was refreshing to spend time with teachers who are passionate about global issues and see what they are doing in their classrooms to help shape children and young people into being more globally aware and responsible citizens," commented Susy Ndaruhutse, Head of International Development at Education Development Trust.

To find out more about the Global Learning Programme-Wales, please have a look at the website or contact the team at GLPWales@educationdevelopmenttrust.com

*Education Development Trust is lead partner in the consortium running GLP-W. The other partners are the Geographical Association, Think Global, iNET/SSAT, and Markit Consultancy.