Welwyn Garden City pupils set to take on the world

A SCHOOL’S determination to inspire its pupils to see themselves as future global citizens has won it a prestigious international award.

New nursery pupils arriving this term at the award-winning school, Applecroft, in WGC, could emerge from education as far off as 2028 to face a global jobs market encompassing many different cultures.

And it is the work of staff there, laying the foundations for their pupils’ futures as world citizens, that has brought the school the accolade from the Foreign Office’s British Council.

Assistant head Nancy Oxenham, Applecroft’s international co-ordinator, said: “This is a very high-profile award and recognises the outstanding contribution of staff, parents and children to our global focus.

“Although our international work looks to our pupils’ futures, it also helps us recognise just how much our pupils are already global citizens.

“In just one initiative this year three pupils and their families were able to share all their experiences of growing up in Dubai, Oman, America, Hong Kong, Japan, Nigeria, New Zealand and South Africa.”

Another venture saw children reach out to all six inhabited continents as they asked friends and family to e-mail photographs capturing their lives abroad. Classroom discussions examined the different lifestyles and cultures pictured.

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The school, paired with others in India, is also in the vanguard of a global move to use social networking to link 40,000 schools and two million pupils by 2013.

The start of the new school year has already seen a major focus at Applecroft on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a charter that applies equally to children in WGC as it does to those in war zones and area of famine.

The pupils learn about the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that they and every child share, and are taught in detail what all children need for a safe, happy and fulfilled childhood.

The global focus isn’t just about the future of Applecroft pupils. Mrs Oxenham said: “What is also important is that our pupils understand about children who are less fortunate. When there are disasters, such as the Haitian earthquake and floods in India, the initiative to help comes from the children.”

Applecroft also works with Hertfordshire-charity Orphans Know More, which supports disadvantaged children in Uganda, so pupils better understand the lives and challenges of young Africans.

For the last two years the European Day of Languages has been a major event for the school, where children have 25 different first languages. Applecroft has twin schools in France with pen-pals sharing experiences of school and life in general – soon to switch from letter writing to web chatting.

In recognising Applecroft’s efforts, the British Council said: “The award is a badge of honour for schools that do outstanding work in international education. Their inspirational work is vital preparation for all our young people.”