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What is Twinning?

Pupils from twinned schools standing round a model of the earth

BBC World Class encourages schools to "twin" or establish international partnerships.

School twinning can have a wonderful effect on your school, giving the curriculum a fresh focus, pupils an exciting opportunity to learn together, and teachers a chance to share experience and skills with colleagues in another school in another country or region.

Along with our partners, we've commissioned  materials for schools in the UK and around the world to help you make the most of your twinning.

You can get inspired by reading about some successful school links

Each school link is different and you can expect ups and downs, highs and lows.  Here are some guidelines and useful links which will help you to get started:

Prioritise communication: It helps to have two named contacts in each school in case the link co-ordinator is unwell, or changes job. Decide how you will contact your partner school - post, phone, text, email, fax. Plan how often.

Set objectives: What do you each want out of the partnership? Agree objectives for each school - they may, of course be different - twinning works when both schools benefit.
More ideas on what to do after the first friendly emails from the Global Gateway.

Set yourselves a target for success: Again, these may be different for each partner but need to be discussed and understood. Don't commit to something unrealistic. Where big distances are involved, you will probably need at least a year to work together. Why not commit to a year and take the chance to explore a longer partnership?

Share information: Don't overlook the basics including term times, school year plans, school development priorities and available resources within the school. The more you share upfront, the better your mutual understanding, and the easier the partnership.

Share a project: Kick-start the relationship in a positive and practical way, work together involving the pupils, and raise the profile of what you are doing by telling the rest of your school about the partnership.

Evaluate resources: There are bound to be differences in the resources available. Find out whether costs such as stamps or phone calls can be met. Don't assume anything. NB you may find yourself in deep water if you muddle school-twinning with charity-based work. Make sure you share school development two ways - always look for an equal partnership.

Coping strategies: Be prepared for misunderstandings or delays, and discuss how you will deal with them. There may be big differences in experience and culture. Be accepting, and if things aren't going well, try and find out what's behind it.

Sustain the link: Once you've started the partnership, it will need fuel to keep going. If you make it work for your school's core needs (ie get it into the curriculum), if you get support from the whole school (ie tell everyone what you are doing, encourage them to get involved) then you'll find it easier to feed the fire!
More ideas on involving other teachersplans for schools to get started and support in your area from the Global Gateway.

Evaluate the project: Plan how you and your partner school give each other regular feedback. Celebrate your successes.

Funding: Funds are available from the British Council and others to help you support your link. 

Exchange visits: You might want to think about visiting your twin school.  It can be tricky to organise and will cost money but funds can be available.  It is not just the pupils who can benefit, teachers could visit a partner school as part of their continuing profesisonal development.

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