Learning about language in Romania and France

Today’s guest blog is from Sally Hall from Leeds City Council’s Learning Improvement Team which is involved in a European funded project called GRIET.  The project brings together schools and educational specialists from three cities – Bacau in Romania, Lille in France and Leeds.  Funded by ERASMUS+, the focus of the project is on pedagogy and practice for speakers of other languages.

In January 2018 teachers from Hovingham Primary School, Bankside Primary School and the Co-operative Academy along with two consultants from the Learning Improvement Team visited our partner city of Lille. We visited several schools in Roubaix, Cambrai and the centre of Lille and had some very useful discussions about inclusion and pedagogy for speakers of other languages and brought back some good ideas to try out here in Leeds schools.

In May 2018 we visited schools in Bacau, Valea Seaca and Lespezi in Romania. Here we saw a good focus on culture and dance and music skills which has been replicated in Leeds at a Roma festival hosted by the Co-operative Academy and attended by local primary schools. We also found out about the culture and background of the Roma pupils in Valea Seaca School and village which school colleagues were particularly interested in as it helped them to have a greater understanding of the Roma pupils in their own schools.

In October 2018 Leeds hosted a visit from teachers and local authority partners. We had a busy week of visiting our partner schools, meeting councillors and representatives from the Leeds Migration Access Project Group and the Gypsy Roma Traveller Outreach and Inclusion Team. Our visitors took away with them lots of ideas to use back in their own schools. These included using more visuals for a global approach,  including reasoning in lessons, using praise and encouragement with students and to further develop parental relationships. The trip concluded with a visit to meet the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Leeds and a tour of the Civic Hall.

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We are looking forward to future visits to both Bacau and Lille to further strengthen our relationships and gain further information, resources and ideas that will support the students in Leeds.

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