Our Mexican Partnership Visit 2015

Oakwood Primary Academy in Leeds have played host this month, to their Mexican partnership school Colegio Americano de Tabasco, in a British Council initiative called Connecting Classrooms.

The initiative encourages intercultural understanding and provides students with the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of global issues.  The partnership centres on active citizenship, with pupils from both schools creating a shared set of values including  the Co-Operative Academy Trust’s principles of democracy, equality and social responsibility and creating an accreditation award for local businesses in the UK and Mexico.

Head of school Jo Speak said, “The partnership to date has been incredible, the children have been so engaged in and out of the classroom; corridors are filled with ‘hola’ and ‘adios.’  The partnership has values at the heart of all activities and enables our pupils to apply their Spanish learning, learn about many aspects of Mexican culture, as well as share their own cultural experiences with their Mexican peers. This visit has made the partnership ‘real’ to our school community and has enabled us to plan future activities together. ”

The visit was embraced by the community, with members of the Oakwood parent forum hosting a world coffee morning to welcome the Mexican teachers to the school.  Executive Headteacher Rebecca Ingram said: “The partnership that we have developed with Mexico has provided a fantastic opportunity to showcase the rich diversity of cultures here at Oakwood, through food and community involvement.  It’s been wonderful to see so many members of our school community going out of their way to welcome our visitors.”

The group was also taken to the headquarters of the Co-operative in Manchester, who have sponsored Oakwood Primary Academy since 2013.  Following the visit the group went on to Manchester City Art Gallery for a reception by the British Council, which coincided with International Education week, allowing Oakwood to showcase their work to a regional audience. 

The successful trip by the Mexicans has been well received; the visitors were welcomed to the Co-operative Academy of Leeds (CAL), and were able to meet former Oakwood pupils who had worked on prior partnership activities. Principal at the Co-operative Academy of Leeds, Jonny Mitchell is keen to establish a link with the secondary phase of Colegio Americano de Tabasco which will enable Oakwood Primary Academy and the Co-operative Academy of Leeds to build further opportunities to work together.

The visit closed with a whole school assembly at Oakwood where gifts made by children and teachers in Mexico were presented to children from various year groups, where flags were exchanged and the teachers at Oakwood gave gifts of original paintings created by the school’s Art Club to the visiting teachers.