Teachers from Sunderland's twin city visit Wearside schools

Pupils (from left) Elliot Gartland, Grace Elwood, Zoe Turnpenny and Jaden Gilley with delegates from Saint Nazaire Marion Le Bihen and Edvin Le Goff.
Pupils (from left) Elliot Gartland, Grace Elwood, Zoe Turnpenny and Jaden Gilley with delegates from Saint Nazaire Marion Le Bihen and Edvin Le Goff.
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Teachers from Europe joined pupils and staff at six Sunderland schools to learn how adopting healthy lifestyles can help improve performance in the classroom

An eight-strong delegation from Sunderland's French twin town of Saint-Nazaire have been in the city on a three-day visit as part of a European funded Erasmus+ programme, E-SCHOLAR.

Now in its second of three years, E-SCHOLAR organises reciprocal visits between the two partner areas to share best practice and experience on how to improve standards of health and education within local schools and communities.

The delegation of teachers and officials visited the six Wearside primary schools involved in the Erasmus+ programme which are Castletown, St Paul's, East Herrington, South Hylton, Kepier and Oxclose.

They also took part in meetings with Together for Children, Sunderland elected members and the Council’s Active Sunderland Team as well as making a visit to Washington Mind to learn about Sunderland’s work on emotional well-being and mental health for our young people.

Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Councillor Louise Farthing, who met with the group, said: "The close relationship we have developed between our two cities and communities over the years, has helped us in so many ways.

"This includes learning from our different approaches to all aspects of life, and sharing what works best to improve everything from education and health to employment, training and business investment.

"This year marks the 65th anniversary of Sunderland’s partnership with Saint-Nazaire, and children and young people have always been at the relationship’s heart.

"The first exchanges during the 1950’s were between schools and youth sports teams.

"We are delighted that today’s young people have the same benefit in coming to know their counterparts."

Coun Farthing added: " Visits like these are very productive, and allow for lots of comparison and discussion on sharing best practice while strengthening our relationship and enhancing cultural awareness in schools."

This Erasmus+ visit included the group taking part in a session with Sunderland City Council’s Lifestyle, Activity and Food (LAF) team at St Paul’s CE Primary School in Ryhope.

They joined children from Year 5 in a number of activities which included learning more about healthy eating, fats and sugars, taking part in games and physical activities.

Headteacher at St Paul’s Natalie Fountain added: "We have been delighted to have teachers from our French partner school back with us this week.

"We have built up a strong relationship with them over the last 8 years through two EU-funded projects.

"It has been great for several of our teachers to travel to France with them to learn from their ways of working, but we also love to have them here in school with us to show them our own work.

"Our learners are delighted to show them what they are involved in, to practise some French with them, and to welcome them to Sunderland.

"It was great to have the whole delegation in school this week taking part in activities, including learning with our pupils about healthy eating and lifestyles with the LAF team, and we look forward to the next phase in the E-SCHOLAR project."