At Cragside Church of England Primary School, we are keen to embed international activities across the whole school and throughout the curriculum. We aim to provide our children with new experiences and ways of living that are different to their own, in order to support them in further developing their understanding, respect and empathy for the practices of other cultures within the UK and across the world. We are blessed to have links with local communities such as the Hope centre and local chinese and refugee communities. Further afield, we connect with Vietnam and Rwanda on a few projects every year.
Cragside primary partnership with Mukuge primary school
One project was on water sanitation and both schools were involved in setting up a water tank at Mukuge Primary School. Reciprocal learning has taken place into the benefits of this and how they can now collect rainwater to re fill the tank and use the taps for clean water access at their school. “Mukuge thanks all of your staff, teachers, parents and students for your big and graceful support. Mukuge is grateful and thankful from our heart.” Jean Rurangwa, Mukuge Primary School.
Another ongoing project is a community garden at both schools. Mukuge Primary have bought several seeds and have chosen the poorest families to work with. The funding was also spent on buying some textbooks about growing your own vegetables and have been given to the families in the community. Both schools have learned what can grow in each other’s climates and have shared pictures. This will continue to develop as the gardens flourish.
Lunar New Year
Every year for a month we celebrate all countries that follow the Lunar calendar. Celebrating other cultures, immersing ourselves in different traditions, taste, art, dance and music. A range of activities take place such as designing large scale dragons with recycled material, shadow puppet shows and whole year group dragon dances in the hall; accompanied by traditional drumming. The children enjoy learning about South Korea, Malaysia, China and Vietnam, taking language lessons and trying the delicious delicacies. During covid, the older classes joined zoom calls with a Vietnamese family during their traditional meal. Other younger classes have made videos for schools in China and Vietnam and shared lessons.
Languages and Cultures
Throughout the year, we have many opportunities to learn different languages such as during International week and European week of languages. Each year group is given a country for the week to explore in a cross-curricular manner. For example, activities such as learning key vocabulary and differences between cultures and traditions. We are lucky to have some parents who can come in to do workshops and help teach Polish, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese.
Global neighbours through literacy
At Cragside, we have worked closely with the Education Endowment Foundation to use evidence-informed approaches to the teaching of reading. We work to ensure the high quality texts we use to build reading comprehension represent a wide range of cultures and beliefs. We ensure all children are given access to texts and topics about diversity and inclusion. Each year group’s English topic is taught through texts which teach the importance of acceptance, alongside helping and learning from asylum seekers and refugees. For example, Year 4 have been hooked on a wonderful story called Christophe’s story by Nicki Cornwell which then inspired them to contact local Rwandan and Congolese refugees. We were blessed to have them visit the school on a few occasions bringing artefacts and stories. Year 5 study The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf about a Syrian refugee which led to many discussions on acceptance and understanding the difference between asylum seekers and refugees. The class was joined by a Syrian refugee and worked on some activities together such as trying Syrian food, learnt a lot and dispelled some misconceptions.
Hope Centre and Charity
Cragside CofE is connected with the Hope centre in Cramlington. The community provision – foodbank, school uniforms, nursery equipment and clothing. Also a venue for bereavement support, craft group and job club. Cragside continues to work with the Hope centre in activities such as singing for their opening events and regular donations.
As a church school we care deeply about helping others and support our local and global neighbours when we can. As well as collecting food for the hope centre food bank we raise money for a range of charities throughout the year. During Christian Aid Week. We encouraged the children to come up with ways to support our global neighbours. Some classes took part in sponsored events and some individual children were moved to raise and donate money themselves. We also raised money for the NSPCC and Children in Need by taking part in non uniform and activity days.
School to school support
At Cragside, we provide school-to-school support to advocate the strategies suggested by the Bell Foundation to support literacy development for EAL children.
We also support teachers to make diverse text choices, particularly for schools in similarly predominantly white working class communities. We work with Seven Stories (CLPE) to maintain diverse text choices which are used extensively across all phases and subjects. The support is inspiring to improve communication, language and literacy linked to the real world and International activities.