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New scheme aims to help head teachers internationalise Welsh schools

Head teachers across Wales will have the chance to learn about education systems abroad and share their skills and knowledge with partners overseas as part of a new scheme.

‘Global Education Dialogues’ is part of Welsh Government’s new flagship for school leadership, the National Academy for Educational Leadership (NAEL).

British Council Wales has developed the new international programme for the Academy, which has helped an initial cohort of 12 head teachers develop their own programmes, choosing the focus and aims of their international visits.

The head teacher ‘associates’ on the programme will share best practice with educationalists in the host country. On their return to Wales they will take part in a variety of events to share what they have learnt and will be expected to develop action plans to improve  the delivery of education in Wales.

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Dr Christopher Lewis, head of education at British Council Wales, explained:

“The British Council wants Wales to be globally connected and internationally inspired. To support this aim, we work across the arts and education sectors to create opportunities for people-to-people exchange between Wales and the world.

“We find this works best when leaders – in the policy sphere, in cultural organisations, in universities and in schools – have an outward-looking ethos and set an international tone within their own organisations, communities and wider professional networks.

“Such leaders have usually recognised the possibilities international engagement can bring to their own work and to the organisations they lead. For many, the ‘light bulb moment’ happened overseas, maybe at a policy seminar in Helsinki or a classroom in Chongqing.

“This is why establishing an international strand within the National Academy for Educational Leadership’s Associates Programme is such an important opportunity. High quality international experiences can give school leaders in Wales the tools, reference points, personal professional networks and confidence to prepare Welsh schools for a global future.”

Huw Foster Evans, chief executive officer of NAEL said:

“The National Academy for Educational Leadership welcomes the opportunity for the Associates to work in conjunction with the British Council to gather first hand evidence of international best practice of leadership development. Part of this work is to inform the Associates commission set by Welsh Government into the role of ‘How can leaders enable high-quality professional learning opportunities that improve well-being and achieve better outcomes for all?’ It will also support and help to further the Associates’ roles as setting based system leaders and bring back the lessons learned that will influence the future direction of the Academy.”

British Council Wales has been delivering the Welsh Government-funded International Professional Learning Communities programme since 2010, taking over one hundred Welsh teachers to see the very best international practice and delivering important impacts across Wales.

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British Council Wales has recently used this experience to support the group developing the new curriculum for Wales in the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience, offering up-close experience of international models to inform their important work. Separate groups have spent time in Ontario, Canada and Jyvaskyla, Finland in 2018, looking at innovative approaches to curriculums and teaching.

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