Since becoming a specialist sports college the school has looked to develop links with schools outside the UK.
The main reason for developing these links is to help our students understand some of the different cultures, traditions, education systems and languages that exist in Europe and beyond. Such connections provide opportunities for staff and students to get involved in exchange opportunities and joint cross curricular work. Some of our students also communicate with e-buddies in schools across Europe.
Our first International partner school was with Jana Opletala Gymnasium based in Litovel in the Czech Republic. We first started working together in 2004 and continue to have links to this day. Originally we worked together to develop student leadership opportunities as part of a Youth Sport Trust, Dreams and Teams project. The first group of John Spence students visited the school in 2004. Since then two other student groups have had the opportunity to visit the school which is 200 kilometres from Prague.
Building on the partnership we had established with our Czech counterparts and the positive experiences our students had we worked with the Czech school to build a very successful Comenius project with additional schools from Germany and Latvia between 2007 and 2009. Students studied the leisure habits of young Europeans and the English, Humanities, Maths and the IT departments in each school were actively involved in the project. John Spence hosted students from each of the partner schools and 30+ of our students had the opportunity to experience what it was like to attend one of our partner schools. When funding for the Comenius project ended in 2009, we continue to maintain the links with our partners in Germany and the Czech Republic. Twelve of our students visited Germany in September of this academic year.
In July 2011 four members of staff from two schools in Pakistan visited John Spence and we are now working with them to help develop their Physical Education curriculum and while no exchange will occur several of our students are in contact with their students via email.
We are currently working with schools in Hungary, Italy, Denmark and Germany to develop another Comenius project with a planning meeting taking place for staff in early May 2012. Hopefully we will be successful with our bid providing further opportunities for our students to experience different lifestyles and cultures.