On 16th June 2016 the partner cities of Leeds and Lille signed an agreement to work together in the field of education over the next 3 years. The agreement was signed by council representatives from Leeds and Lille, as well as from Lille’s education authority at a special venue exhibiting children’s art.
The Leeds – Lille partnership dates back to 1968 and educational links date back to before the second world war. This agreement will allow the two cities to create more school links, to offer more professional development opportunities for teachers, to plan more joint projects and to run more student exchanges.
Children from Rothwell Primary visited Lille’s forest school in May, where they learned about sustainable development and played alongside new friends from their Lille partner school.
Rothwell and two other Leeds primaries were also involved in an EU funded project last year which looked at each city’s approaches to encouraging children and young people to influence decisions and make their voices heard. The project looked at different ways to solve problems at school and Lille teachers, headteachers and playworkers were trained up on the Leeds approach to restorative practice.
Looking to the future, exchanges around cultural education are high on the agenda for the two cities, with a group of Leeds steelpans teachers having just returned from performing and teaching at a Kids Art Festival in Lille. Lille held the title of European Capital of Culture in 2004, meaning that Leeds has a lot of learn from its partner city on how to get children and young people involved in cultural activities.