Bringing the world into the classroom has resulted in a prestigious international award being presented to a Chester high school.

Upton-by-Chester High School has been awarded the British Council’s International School Award, a badge of honour for schools that do outstanding work in international education, such as through links with partner schools overseas.

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 to live and work as global citizens.

Upton-by-Chester High School’s international work includes an environmental project with schools in Yemen, Sri Lanka and Russia, a food technology link with Sri Lanka, a World War One poetry link with European schools, a Family and Home project led by the religious studies department and shared with partner schools in St Petersburg, Russia as well as Sri Lanka.

In addition, students and staff were involved in a whole school Amnesty International Write for Rights campaign with some students writing to prisoners of conscience in Spanish.

Third international award

Headteacher Paula Dixon said: “We are delighted to receive the international award. This is our third international school award since 2009.

“The British Council’s feedback on our ‘impressive’ application is a significant accolade to the international learning that goes on at our school and one we are very proud of. Staff have shown their continued commitment to understanding and applying the principles of international education in a creative, innovative and imaginative way.

“International learning activities are embedded in the curriculum and provide students with a real audience which in turn motivates learners to achieve.

“The impact of the projects has been high on students and it has provided enhanced learning opportunities. International work has promoted intercultural dialogue, exchange of ideas, joint educational focuses, increased knowledge and understanding of each other’s societies and last but not least enjoyment through relevant learning.”

Rightfully earned

British Council chief executive Sir Ciarán Devane 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.

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

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “Young people must be at the heart of our work to create a safer and more prosperous world for everyone and we need to ensure their voices are heard if we are to win the fight against global poverty.

“That is why I am delighted to celebrate the international work of Upton-by-Chester High School and the energy and passion of the young people involved.”