In September 2012 we were awarded the Full International School Award by the British Council and in September 2015 we were reaccredited with the award for our outstanding work in International education.
We strive to ensure that internationalism pervades the ethos of our school and as such we have an extensive International programme. All departments across the school contribute to this through their curricular and extra-curricular activities.
In order to achieve reaccreditation for the International School Award we focussed on seven projects which involved all students taking part in cross-curricular themes. We also worked with schools in our local area and with link schools in the Netherlands, China, Nepal and Spain.
The activities included: Teaching Mandarin and Chinese Culture, our link with the Nehalennia School in the Netherlands, Art and Religious Studies work on the Mexican Day of the Dead, Designing Fairtrade products, The European Cultural Year, World Challenge trip to Nepal, and World Music.
Our school canteen organises monthly ‘International Food Days’ in order to give students a taste of food from around the world. This year so far these days have included German and Mexican food, and are always a huge success.
We have links with schools and other educational institutions in Nepal, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany and use these links to enhance the experience of all students in our school. This year a group of students is taking part in a World Challenge visit to Nepal, and in November 50 visitors from our Dutch partner school will be coming to Dowdales for three days to experience life in a school in Britain and to meet their penfriends here.
Last year we successfully applied for a Chinese Language Assistant from China to teach Mandarin, and we worked with Mrs Ya Ouyang from the Hunan Region of China. Mrs Ouyang was partially funded by the Hanban Institute and taught Mandarin to all students in Year 7. This project also helped to support our work with colleagues in local Primary Schools and Mrs Ouyang worked with staff and students in both Dalton St Mary’s and Yarlside Schools. All three schools held a joint celebration of Chinese New Year at the end of January.
Our Modern Languages Department also supports Primary Colleagues. Annette Challinor, Academic Team Leader for MFL is working with primary schools on a project based on the Cultural Year in Europe, with the aim of setting up a German Christmas Market with contributions from a wide range of schools.