Biddenham has developed several strong International Links. In previous years, we have had the honour of hosting visiting athletes wishing to visit Bedford Borough prior to the 2012 Olympic Games. Our links with the Youth Sport Trust and the British Council have led to our main school link with Beaufort West School, Western Cape, South Africa.
The association between the schools comes out of the Dreams and Teams initiative which had as its main aim the training and development of young leaders. In July 2008, Beaufort West Sports Leaders visited Biddenham, and in July 2010 Biddenham Sports Leaders visited the Western Cape. The visit formed the launch of the International Inspirations project, of which we were active members; this has now developed into the ‘Connecting Classrooms Scheme’ which is delivered and funded by the British Council.
For the past 5 years, Biddenham, alongside Redborne Upper School and Westfield School, has taken part in visits to our three South African partner schools: Beaufort West, Van Cutsem and Phakama. In these visits, staff and students have visited the schools and worked with staff in order to build a collaborative teaching and learning partnership. These visits have then been reciprocated by staff from the South African schools.
Owing to the success of the work between the partnerships of all six schools, we will be reapplying for another bid this year for teacher exchange funding through the Connecting Classroom Scheme and hope that this allows us to continue our ever-growing relationship with our South African schools.
In addition to the above we are also part of an Internship with colleagues from Kazakhstan, this originated from Biddenham’s links with the Schools University Partnership for Educational Research (SUPER).
The Bedford Bamberg Exchange
Students from years 9-11 have recently returned from Bamberg, our twin town in Germany as part of the annual County exchange. The exchange itself has been running for over 30 years and has been very successful.
Biddenham students go to Bamberg and fully embrace the German life while they are there. They go into our partner school, The Clavius Gymnasium in Bamberg and live in families from the town.
This year, the group have had a very enjoyable trip and all seem to have learned more both of the language and culture. The trip lasts a week and is extremely good value for money.
Our Sixth Formers are able to take advantage of the trip too by going to do work experience in Bamberg. This year, they worked as Language Assistants in school and found the experience both useful for their German and also for their future career choices.
Several of our students have already indicated a desire to return, either as part of the exchange or the European work experience programme. We also welcome students from the Dientzenhofen Gymnasium in Bamberg to our school each summer to complete a week’s work experience with us.
We hope that the link with Bamberg and Biddenham in particular will continue to grow and long lasting friendships will be made.