“Governor Carolyn Timbrell and I were privileged to represent the school on this trip accompanying Mrs Dixon and Mrs Lewis to Radzionkow which is situated in Silesia in the south of Poland. Involvement in the Comenius project is important in the development of the school’s award-winning international work. It is funded by the British Council and improves links between children in different EU countries. This current project is called “Teaching through Art” and lasts until the summer of next year. Ten schools in ten EU countries are involved – England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, Slovenia, Romania, Lithuania and Bulgaria. Each school has chosen an early 20th century artist from their own country to learn about. Our school has chosen LS Lowry.
The first day was taken up with meetings and presentations about the project so far – the children in each school have been learning about the other countries involved and each have had a video-conference with one other school. North Nibley had one before Christmas with the Bulgarian school. There was the opportunity to show our pupils’ work to the other teachers. We had also taken 2 logos for the project from our pupils – one made it through to the last round (Well done, Kathryn Orgles!) but Lithuania were the eventual winners. There was a lot of evidence about the cross-curricular work that the children have been doing – the Slovenian school had been inspired to do a lot of maths (Fibonacci numbers) based on their artist’s work! The enjoyment of the pupils and dedication of the teachers was obvious during the presentations.
The next day we were treated to a day out in Kracow which was wonderful. We all felt that we had never been in a place that had history oozing out of every stone – both medieval and modern European. Our guide was local and very knowledgeable and took us on a 5 hour walking tour. Luckily this involved a stop in a shop selling nothing but chocolate…… We visited the market square, old city, Wawel Hill and the Jewish district. We all felt that we would love to go back again at a later date.”
The rest of the week involved more meetings to plan the next stage of the project, a visit to the Town Hall (where Mrs Dixon did an interview for the local TV news), a trip to a local museum and a trip to Primary School No 1 in Radzionkow – the highlight of the visit. The children were very excited to have us in the school. Children dressed in traditional Polish costume welcomed us in near perfect English. The head teacher and teachers took us on a tour of the school which is celebrating it’s centenary (We had to virtually drag Mrs Dixon out of the brand new Sports Hall!). The Comenius Project work adorning the walls was truly stunning. The whole school (children aged 6-14 years old)had been immersed in the project and were relishing the opportunity to experiment with different media and art materials. The visit ended with a show that the children performed rounded off with some traditional Polish country dancing. The school hall had been decorated to make it look like an art gallery and ten large pictures hung representing the ten artists from each country of the project and looked fantastic.
We left inspired and realized that we have a lot of work to do here to carry on with this project. Some of you will already see this in your children’s bookbags….. The next meeting is in south east France in May.
There were a lot of positive comments about our school – the Slovenian teachers were very impressed with the school’s community links and the French teachers were struck by how much our pupils were enjoying their work. We were very proud of our children and enjoyed celebrating their achievements with our new friends and colleagues.
Whilst there we sampled traditional Polish food – Rollada, Klooski, Kapusta and Zurek ie rolled meat, dumplings, cabbage and soup! On the last night we had the honour of dinner with the Mayor, whilst the head teacher wandered around offering vodka shots! A truly memorable experience.”