Eight school leaders from Southampton and the New Forest have returned from a fact finding mission to China.
The conferences were attended by more than 600 delegates, including education bureau officials and headteachers, who were keen to gain a comparative perspective of Chinese and British education systems and discuss opportunities for collaboration.
While in China the group also visited a number of schools including Shenzhen Shiyan Public School, which has more than 6,000 pupils.
Nigel Pressnell, headteacher at The Arnewood School, said: “Shenzhen schools are keen to collaborate with the UK as British education is regarded as being exemplary.
“It was fascinating to see how teachers work with their classes which are typically 40 or more students per group. There were surprising similarities in our use of technology but China also proudly holds onto its traditional heritage; paper cutting, print making and calligraphy are important facets of the experience in Chinese schools.”
The visit was organised by UK-based Opportunity Education, which specialises in school exchanges between the UK and China, and Chinese partners ‘CIPTC’, the international arm of the education bureau in Shenzhen.
During their stay the headteachers shared different approaches to education and schooling and gave insights into their schools and curriculums.
This was the second step in an exchange programme that began the previous academic year when the schools welcomed Chinese students for one week exchange programmes.
The Hampshire schools had a desire to expose their students to international culture and opportunity outside of their locality, developing global citizenship skills and qualities.
Kate Crawford, headteacher at Milford-on-Sea CE Primary School, said: “Visiting schools in Shenzhen was a fantastic experience.
“I was hugely impressed with the importance placed on education in China. The government has made significant investment into teacher recruitment and training.
“The resources in the schools were phenomenal and a stark reminder that the UK education system needs to make more investment now if we are to keep up with our global neighbours.”
Note to editors:
Shenzhen is home to a population of 12.5 million, a modern metropolis bridging Hong Kong and mainland China. Bao’an and Luohu have a combined population of 4 million inhabitants. Shenzhen is China’s Silicon Valley and is home to many successful tech companies. The visit was funded by China International Personnel Training Centre (CIPTC) the international specialist branch of the Shenzhen Education Bureaus. The participating schools frequently host Chinese students.
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