International partnerships that broaden the curriculum and provide stimulating learning experiences

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Ysgol Heol Goffa has established partnerships with schools across the world that have allowed pupils to experience new languages and cultures and enriched the curriculum with a wide range of teaching materials.

Number of learners: 75
Age range: 3 - 19
Date of inspection: March 2017

Information about the school

Ysgol Heol Goffa is a local authority day special school situated in Llanelli and maintained by Carmarthenshire local authority. The school provides placements for pupils aged from three to nineteen years with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties.  There are currently 75 pupils on roll.  The school aims to provide enjoyable and challenging learning experiences to enable each pupil to reach their individual potential. 

Context and background to sector-leading practice

The headteacher and senior leadership team are committed to providing positive and high quality learning experiences to help pupils learn about their own and other cultures.  The school has been involved in international partnerships since September 2013 and has strong international links, which strengthen pupils’ experiences and understanding of their role as global citizens. 

Description of nature of strategy or activity

Senior leaders have established highly beneficial partnerships with schools in Ireland, Scotland, Turkey, Austria and Cyprus.  These have helped to broaden the school’s curriculum and provide pupils with stimulating learning experiences, including valuable opportunities to visit other countries.  Staff have benefited from sharing new approaches to teaching and learning that have been developed with colleagues at some of these partner schools. 

What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

These partnerships have enabled pupils to travel to other countries and make new friends.  Pupils have experienced new cultures and languages and have learnt first-hand about being global citizens.  On returning from these international visits, the pupils engage enthusiastically in events to share their experiences with other pupils and parents, such as in open evenings where they showcase the language, food and traditions of the country they have visited.  These experiences give pupils greater self-confidence and improve their self-esteem, communication and social skills. 

The school’s curriculum has been enriched by the wide range of teaching materials that staff and students have brought back from other countries.  Staff use these resources well to develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of other cultures and traditions.  For example, staff from Heol Goffa visited Turkey and brought back teaching materials that enriched the religious education, design technology and art schemes of work.

Links with special schools in Dublin and Edinburgh have enabled staff to learn and share new approaches to communication that have benefited non-verbal pupils in particular.

How have you shared your good practice?

The school is part of a network that is committed to developing pupils’ understanding of their role as global citizens.  Staff from Heol Goffa work with colleagues in other local schools to share their curriculum materials and to encourage partnerships between schools in Wales the rest of the world.