In the Spotlight this week are the schools in England attended by World and European Triathlon Champion Alistair Brownlee, and their UK partner schools, supported by the British Council.
Bradford Grammar Junior School (Clock House) is twinning with Knockhall Community Primary School, in Kent. Bradford Grammar School is twinning with James Brindley School, in Birmingham.
Olympic Dreams schools face off in 'Rowathon'
JAMES BRINDLEY SCHOOL
Lesley Jeffries, Teacher
The enthusiasm shown by our students has been the most successful aspect of this partnership so far.
As part of our partnership we at James Brindley School laid down a sporting challenge to Bradford Grammar School - a 'Rowathon Challenge'.
Today it is our turn in the 'Rowathon' and we are rowing as far as we can. We have been practicing rowing at break and lunchtimes so we can do our best.
The students at James Brindley were extremely enthusiastic about the whole event. It engaged everyone, including the less sporty, to be involved in a sporting activity.
Our students are so similar and different at the same time.
Ours are students who through no fault of their own have social, medical and emotional issues that prevent them fulfilling their potential. Their dreams and aspirations are similar to those at Bradford but they may find it more of a challenge to reach their goals.
What we have realised is that they are all young adults facing their own unique set of challenges.
Lesley Jeffries, Teacher
All the pupils here at James Brindley are looking forward to meeting the students from Bradford Grammar again in the not too distant future.
Twinning for 2012 is definitely an activity that all schools should participate in - it broadens the horizons and aspirations of all involved.
BRADFORD GRAMMAR SCHOOL
Charles Lines, Teacher
Our pupils have been pleased to be partnered with James Brindley and are interested in getting to know more about them and their school.
The challenge of the 'rowathon' really caught their imagination and they are looking forward to further challenges.
The most successful aspect of the partnership so far has been the enthusiasm and desire of our students to participate in activities involving both art and sport that we have set up as a result of being involved.
Pupils at Bradford Grammar participate in the 'Rowathon' challenge
We are both based in the UK and following the British education curriculum, but from different directions.
I believe the goals of all the pupils are similar, but it is the paths that they are following to achieve them that is the main difference.
We are hopeful that visits between the two schools will take place before too long and if possible we will meet at the London triathlon in Hyde Park later this year, and possibly meet with Alistair.
And in November, the school have a float in The Lord Mayor's Parade in London which the Brownlees have provisionally agreed to join for the day.
I think we all hope that the partnership will grow and continue beyond 2012.
To other schools thinking of twinning for 2012 I'd say: "Go for it." With the 2012 connection it has to be a positive idea and from our experience so far it is something we have all enjoyed.
KNOCKHALL PRIMARY SCHOOL
Sarah Rye, Teacher
Following the initial meeting of all twinned schools in London at 'Olympic Dreams Live', we introduced our partnership to all the children in our school through an assembly. We looked at where our partnership school is and drew comparisons between the two locations.
Both schools being in the UK made it easy to compare locations, but there are many differences between the two schools in terms of facilities.
We are trying to create a joint sports day this summer with both schools completing the same activities
Sarah Rye, Teacher
We have made a good start to the partnership, exchanging information about our two schools so that the children could see for themselves the similarities and differences.
We hope to use online video conferencing to hold meetings with our partnership schools over the next term, sharing information about our curriculum and linking work to compare how different classes are tackling similar topics.
We've got great plans for the future - we are trying to create a joint sports day this summer with both schools completing the same activities so that we can then compare them online.
We also hope to meet at Hyde Park in the summer to watch Alistair Brownlee compete in the London Triathlon, joining the schools together to support him.
We hope that these joint ventures during the summer will lead to stronger links next year in the build up to the Olympic Games.
BRADFORD GRAMMAR JUNIOR SCHOOL
Jasmine Manning, Deputy Head
So far, we've had initial telephone contact with our twinned school (Knockhall Community Primary School) and we've also had school assemblies to introduce the project to our pupils.
As a whole school we looked at their school's website and the photographs they sent us. I also contacted all our parents to explain about the project and sent them web links.
Pupils at Knockhall Primary in a special Olympic Dreams assembly
Our Year 6 pupils are involved in an ICT project whereby they are producing presentations, including films and photos, for our twinned school's Year 6 pupils. Hopefully these will be swapped before the summer's out!
I would love to visit our twinned school - we are 'down south' in November as our school has been invited to take part in the London Lord Mayor's Parade (he is an old boy of the school). Our float and parade is focussed around the Olympic Dreams project.
The most successful part of the partnership so far has been inspiring the pupils to follow their dreams. To others thinking of twinning for 2012 I'd say: "Hocage" - our school motto, meaning: "Go for it!"
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