Sunderland school scoops an international award

Pupils from Barbara Priestman Academy present artwork to the New Wear Crossing site in Sunderland.
Pupils from Barbara Priestman Academy present artwork to the New Wear Crossing site in Sunderland.
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A Sunderland special school has scooped an award with an international flavour.

Barbara Priestman Academy has been awarded the British Council’s prestigious International School Award in recognition of its work to bring the world into the classroom.

The International School Award celebrates the achievements of schools that provide exceptional learning opportunities in international education.

Fostering an international dimension in the curriculum is at the heart of the British Council’s work with schools, so that young people gain the cultural understanding and skills they need for life and work in today’s world.

Barbara Priestman’s international work includes embedding an international dimension into their teaching and a whole school approach to global issues.

Staff and students at Barbara Priestman spend the summer term studying the chosen country for each year and then celebrate their learning with an International Day when the academy brings in specialist music, dance, art and cultural workshops.

This year, the focus was Japan and the International Day saw pupils taking part in drumming and music workshops, sushi workshops, sumi-e painting, Japanese Peking opera masks, storytelling, karate, learning language, and participating in a Japanese tea ceremony.

This was made possible with the help from the Oriental Museum Durham and Earthsong Music Workshops, London.

Carolyn Dunn, executive headteacher at the Wearside academy, said: “This award clearly recognizes the wonderful cultural work that staff and students are deeply engaged in.

“The international dimension helps our students to appreciate what it means to be British, whilst also developing an awareness and understanding of a range of other cultures, languages, religion and people.”

Sir Ciaran Devane, CEO of the British Council, said: “The school’s fantastic international work has rightfully earned it this prestigious award.

“The International School Award is a great chance for schools to demonstrate the important work they’re doing to bring the world into their classrooms.

“Embedding an international dimension in children’s education ensures that they are truly global citizens and helps prepare them for successful lives and careers in an increasingly global economy.”