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Page last updated at 11:11 GMT, Friday, 13 May 2011 12:11 UK

School link remains 3 years after China's big earthquake

A photo of the 2008 China Earthquake
A photo of the 2008 China Earthquake taken by a teacher visiting their partner school in 2009.

Three years ago, Wenchuan Earthquake in China unexpectedly strengthened the link between two high schools from the UK and China.

Our students and teachers were very concerned about the safety of our friends far away in China after hearing the earthquake news
Sue Mitchell, Teacher

Back in 2002, William Bradford Community School established a partnership with Nanshan High School in Mianyan City in China.

Sue Mitchell, a teacher from William Bradford Community School together with students, visited Nanshan High School three times between 2003 and 2007.

She recalls her fears when the earthquake struck in 2008. "Our students and teachers were very concerned about the safety of our friends far away in China after hearing the earthquake news. With the help of BBCUKChina.com team, we finally got in touch with Nanshan High School in the worst-hit area. After learning that all the teachers and students were safe, everyone felt relieved."

A photo of the 2008 China Earthquake

Thankfully there were no fatalities during the earthquake but some students were injured and the school building was badly damaged. This resulted in William Bradford Community School launching a donation campaign to help Nanshan High School.

In the summer of 2009, a visiting group from William Bradford Community School visited Nanshan High School, where post-quake reconstruction was taking place. Majorie Callis, a teacher with the group, recalls being deeply shocked by the damage of the earthquake and also deeply touched by the students who had lost family members.

The link continue to flourish as a further exchange took place in September 2010, when another group of teachers and students from Nanshan High School visited Britain.

Zheng Bowen, a student with the group, told BBCUKChina.com, "We visited British schools, learned about British students and experienced their special classroom dynamics. This helped us broaden our horizon and practise our English."

Cao Hongxia, a teacher with the visiting group said, "The most impressive thing for me was the curriculum in Britain. Many courses such as costume designing, housekeeping, drama are all subjects taught in classes in Britain, which are just after-class interests for Chinese students. It really enlightened us and we all wanted to learn from them in our teaching."

Students and teachers from both schools hope that their mutual exchanges will be carried on in the future.

Chinese students visit their partner school in the UK



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