Global education programme to connect Scotland to the world

More than 100,000 pupils across Scotland, from the Borders to the Highlands, will benefit from a global education programme, connecting UK classrooms to over 30 countries around the world, the British Council and the Department for International Development (DFID) announced today. 

Connecting Classrooms is designed to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy, and make a positive contribution locally and globally. The programme, running from 2015-2018, will build the capacity of 45,000 teachers and 12,000 school leaders worldwide to support them to integrate a range of core skills into the curriculum, with a focus on:

  • digital literacy
  • critical thinking and problem solving
  • creativity and imagination
  • student leadership
  • collaboration and communication
  • citizenship

Connecting Classrooms will aim to improve teaching in both Scotland and other countries around the world in the following key areas:

  • Professional development for teachers and school leaders in over 30 countries including Scotland;
  • Sustainable partnerships between schools in Scotland, the rest of the UK and over 30 countries in the Middle East, Sub Saharan Africa and South and East Asia;
  • Professional dialogue opportunities for policy makers that will support national and regional level debate, reflection and action;
  • Awards to schools which are successful in equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to live and work in a globalised economy;
  • Online access to high quality resources to support teachers in delivering improved learning outcomes for young people.

The new offer builds upon the success of the first phase of Connecting Classrooms, which ran from June 2012 to June 2015, and focussed on building global awareness and cross-cultural learning amongst young people. This has so far enabled over 18,000 teachers around the world to benefit from professional development training, with over 75% of Scottish teachers who participated reporting improvements to global citizenship teaching practice as a result.

In reflecting on the work her school, St Cuthbert’s Primary in Edinburgh, has been carrying out with their Tanzanian partner school through the first phase of Connecting Classrooms, teacher Rachel Campbell said: “Our children are learning skills in collaboration, communication, taking action and creative and critical thinking. These are lifelong skills which are essential in building an international society that has fairness and equality at the centre.”

International Development Minister Baroness Verma said: “We believe in being a country that shapes the world. Today’s school children will be tomorrow’s global leaders and the more they can learn about the world the more they can shape it. Their positive energy and enthusiasm will be vital as we battle inequality and create a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.

“Connecting Classrooms gives young people the chance to act as Britain’s ambassadors across the world. As they interact with and learn more about developing countries they will also show that Britain is determined to leave no one behind.”

British Council Director of Education and Society, Dr Jo Beall said: “As educators, our responsibility is to prepare every young person for their future in the best possible way. Whether you are a young person in Lagos or Glasgow, Dhaka or London, accessing education that supports the development of academic mastery alongside the acquisition of core skills will be crucial to your future success, to the future and wellbeing of others and to the prosperity of our global society as a whole. Young people need and deserve the opportunity to grow into well-rounded, creative and critical citizens, ready to engage with labour markets and shape the future for themselves and future generations.”

Lloyd Anderson, Director of British Council Scotland said: “Connecting Classrooms is a very important and innovative programme which continues to help Scotland’s young people develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to succeed in the global economy as responsible citizens. We’ve already seen, since its inception in 2012, the very tangible difference that Connecting Classrooms can make to schools, teachers and pupils, with many real examples of a more international outlook, enhanced understanding and improvements in confidence, setting up our young people to be successful international leaders.”

“The role that Connecting Classrooms partnerships have played in improving outcomes for pupils and schools across Scotland is highlighted in Learners International, a jointly developed resource between Education Scotland and British Council Scotland.  We look forward to building on this success and offering this opportunity to even more learners through the next phase of the programme.”

For more information on the new Connecting Classrooms programme, please go to: