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China Visit Leads to School Partnerships

Friday, 18 November 2016

Languages’ Coordinator at Bolton School Junior Boys’ School, Mr Colin Hough, spent a productive half-term in China, developing partnerships with Honggangcheng Primary School and Changqingshu Experimental School in Wuhan, Hubei Province. He made contact with the schools whilst on his British Council sponsored visit to China to develop school partnerships. An excited Mr Hough said: “I am in touch with both head teachers and we are now looking at ways we can develop our links to mutually benefit both our schools through cultural and curricular links. Maths is an obvious subject area where we can exchange expertise but we may also be able to develop other link-ups such as in music. I was really impressed with the Chinese educational system, they are way ahead of the UK in terms of using technology but they also balanced this with a deep respect for cultural matters, focussing on many aspects of ancient Chinese culture such as calligraphy, ink tie-dying, Tai Chi and mindfulness, which plays a large part in their curriculum. There is a lot we can learn from the Chinese and them from us. During the trip, our group of twelve British visiting teachers visited large primary, middle and high schools, observing and participating in lessons, touring the campuses and meeting staff and students. I was impressed that Chess is part of the curriculum! My lasting impressions of school life in China are of happy children, dedicated and respected staff, great use of technology, a keenness to do well and, as our Chinese hosts put it, with a happy curriculum.”  

Reflecting further on his visit, Mr Hough said: “My first impressions of China were of the sheer size of the country and of the mad traffic - constant horn blowing and traffic jams, day and night! Wuhan, which is twinned with Manchester, is a huge industrial city on the Yangtze River, some 600 miles south of Beijing. It is five times larger than Greater London and has a downtown which looks much like New York. During the visit, we managed a number of cultural visits - to the famous Yellow Crane Tower, the Yangtze River, The Provincial Museum, and to The Han Show, an International Acrobats Show and, of course, a little shopping, enjoying fantastic food throughout! In summary, China is wonderful, with warm people, caring schools, lovely students, fantastic food and mad traffic! I'll be back!” 

Last year, the Junior Boys’ School became one of only a handful of schools endowed with Confucius Classroom status and Mr Hough is now looking forward to ensuring as many pupils take the Young Chinese Test as possible whilst also developing the School as a learning hub for other local schools. 

Head of the Junior Boys’ School, Mrs Sue Faulkner, said: “With one billion people speaking the language and China set to become the World’s largest economy, the boys are being prepared for the future.”

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Mr Hough and the group came away with lots of ideas for how partnerships might work

Twelve British teachers took part in the "Chinese Bridge for UK Schools" programme and enjoyed visiting local cultural attractions such as the Yellow Crane Tower

Mr Hough and the group came away with lots of ideas for how partnerships might work

The group learnt some essential phrases for their visit