Schools Spotlight on Team Olga Kharlan
In the Spotlight this week are the schools in Ukraine attended by Olympic gold-medallist fencer Olga Kharlan, and their UK partner schools.
Number 4 School, Ukraine, is twinning with The Coopers Company and Coborn School in Upminster, London.
Essex Fencing champion from Coopers has an Olympic dream of her own
THE COOPERS COMPANY AND COBORN SCHOOL
Karen Pack, Assistant Deputy Headteacher, The Coopers Company and Coborn School
Representative from Number 4 School visiting Coburn School
There's a lots going on within our partnership. Natalia (from Number 4 School) has recently been over, and we have swapped some cross curricular work.
60 of our year seven students have written to each other and are now corresponding via email.
Our year eight students have swapped posters on the history of their schools and towns.
The year nine ambassadors have made presentations which again have been swapped.
Catherine, our lead student, has organised a video call with students from their schools sixth form.
Our students have really engaged with the work, a great opportunity to understand and appreciate other cultures.
More events are planned for next year - we are considering bringing some students across to attend some Cultural Olympiad-related events, but they have a much earlier summer break than we do.
As to similarities and differences, it's a difficult question - but I guess kids are kids and have similar interests in terms of music, films, X Factor, etcetera.
We've had no problems as yet and even the language barrier has not been a major obstacle.
To others thinking of twinning for 2012 I'd say: great opportunity, go for it.
NUMBER 4 SCHOOL
Natalia Bogachenko, Teacher, Number 4 School
While visiting the UK we attended an excursion all around Coopers Coburn School.
Natalia captures a moment from a school assembly on her visit to Coburn School
We were in nearly all the classrooms, saw their gyms, and saw different lessons. Also we were at the assemblies the next morning - the girls jumped on a trampoline.
I think it was very interesting because when we came back home we showed all the photos to our teachers and pupils. They also say that we have so much in common.
Our junior pupils wrote letters to the pupils from our partner school and now they use e-mails to continue their communication.
The pupils are very happy to make new friends in this way.
Pupils from Number 4 School hold up their letters to children at their Olympic Dreams partner school
Our 13-14 year old pupils made collages about the history of our schools and the differences between them.
Our 15-16 year old pupils made presentations (which were exchanged with Coburn School - see Coburn's presentation above).
The success of the partnership for us is that our pupils can communicate with other children of their age, and get real information about their way of life and dreams.
In the future, we have a plan to hold a web conference between our pupils. We have some plans to visit our partner school with the group of children, but we don't know when exactly.
Our schools are not so different. The main difference is that our school is new - only 23 years old, and Coopers Coborn is a very old school.
I think we have nearly the same system of education, but there are some differences - we study all the subjects but English pupils can choose. So our pupils have nearly 15 subjects.
They have many traditions and rules. Our school has many traditions too, but (through the partnership) we are finding something new for our school.
Twinning for 2012 is a nice way to understand that all people are different and they are similar at the same time, we have the same dreams and we need the same things: love; friendship.