The DCSF Global Gateway has been running for over four years; it has more than 20,000 schools on its database and works with other networks adding up to more than 350,000 schools in total across the world.

Finding the right partner for schools in the UK is something that the Global Gateway team excels at. They will send a free starter pack, make suggestions for link schools and help you to search the database to find your ideal link. More than 2000 schools in the UK have been linked up and that is just the beginning!

Links can start because of project ideas, curriculum relevance, location or matched size or setting, but they’ll only continue if friendships develop and the teachers are in tune. Once the partnership is committed, funding can follow, and the team helps schools to find the right place to apply.

Partner schools and clusters have grown twin gardens on opposite sides of the world; they’ve exchanged recipes, folk tales, family histories, heroes and photo-stories; they’ve performed in video dramas, debated world issues, written chain poems and even run mini-Olympics! What could you do?

Increasingly schools use ICT in creative ways to develop virtual links and networks. The team help with this, from podcasting and emailing to shared websites or wikis.

Schools and colleges are encouraged to think about the impact on learning that the Global Dimension can bring. QCDA has published a support document filled with case studies (available free) and the DCSF International School Award (DCSF ISA), an accreditation scheme recognising schools which are working to build a global dimension into their curriculum, is in Part One of the Self Evaluation Form for schools as a ‘significant award’.

It is a fantastic way to show that international links may include fun and friendship, but they can also develop critical thinking skills, a broader outlook, higher motivation for learning and a determination to make a difference and a better future for the world.