Languages Partnership Project with Madrid

Article in City of Edinburgh ‘Bright Futures

For the past two years, schools in the James Gillespies’ cluster have been involved in a partnership with schools in the Comunidad de Madrid in Spain. The partnership has offered the teachers the chance to share good practice and enrich their lessons through the exciting cultural experiences gained when visiting the partners’ country.

The schools in the James Gillespie’s cluster are:

  • James Gillespie’s High
  • Sciennes Primary
  • James Gillespie’s Primary
  • Preston Street Primary
  • Royal Mile Primary
  • Taobh na Pàirce
  • Tollcross Primary

This month teachers from Madrid visited Edinburgh and were treated to a range of activities and experiences by our 1+2 Language team. This visit comes ahead of a group of primary school pupils from Madrid visiting Tollcross Primary in May 2015.

Sarah Spiller, 1+2 Development Officer, tells the full story:

City of Edinburgh 1+2 Languages team were delighted to welcome our partners from Comunidad de Madrid to Edinburgh in March as part of a two year-long project linking schools in Spain with our schools in the James Gillespie’s cluster.

The European-funded project has focused on building partnerships and identifying and sharing best practices in learning and teaching, particularly in how we teach languages. Teachers from the James Gillespie’s cluster schools have travelled to Madrid on two separate occasions. Firstly to observe the Madrid bilingual education program, then during the second trip our teachers taught students using strategies including cooperative and active learning styles and innovative approaches to planning. These strategies have been highlighted as a strength of our teachers and were delivered to pupils in the partner schools in Madrid completely in English. On their visit to Scotland the Madrid teachers taught our primary school learners’ lessons entirely in Spanish.

The visiting teachers also enjoyed a range of Scottish cultural events, such as a number of wonderful Gaelic performances and a ceilidh at Taobh na Pàirce and a fantastic international tapas evening at Sciennes Primary.

The teachers engaged in rich professional dialogue around language learning.  Existing partnerships between pupils and schools in Scotland and Madrid were strengthened as a result of the project . Pupils have been emailing, video conferencing and writing to their new friends in Spain and in the final stages of the project, Tollcross Primary School will be welcoming a pupil group from their partner school, Colegio Joaquín Blume, in May 2015.

Liz Gray, Quality Improvement Manager, said,

The people have made the project and our Madrid partners could not have asked for a more welcoming, capable and reflective group of teachers.

We would like to extend a huge gracias to all the schools involved for their hard work and enthusiasm during the course of the project.