The British Council visit St. Mary's Menston and praise Bambisanani Partnership March 2018

On Thursday 29 March, St. Mary’s welcomed Mr John Rolfe MBE from the British Council who presented the school with the International School Award.

Photo: LEFT TO RIGHT: Mr D Beardsley (Headteacher), Mrs C Chattoe, Miss D Neale, Tadhg Collins, Laurence Patterson, Ewan Copsey, Mrs M Hayes, David Geldart (founder of the Bambisanani Partnership), Mr John Rolfe MBE

The International School Award is a badge of honour for schools that carry out outstanding work in international education, such as through links with partner schools overseas.  Fostering an international dimension in the curriculum is at the heart of the British Council’s work with schools, so that young people gain the cultural understanding and skills they need to live and work as global citizens.

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In addition to the Bambisanani Partnership with Mnyakanya High School, Leeds University and Leeds Trinity University, St. Mary’s international work includes long standing annual exchange visits to France and Germany, World Challenge expeditions (this year’s expedition to Costa Rica and Nicaragua involves 38 students), the Connecting Classrooms project, a global programme run by the British Council which creates partnerships between groups of schools in the UK and in other countries.

“We are delighted to be working with such an outstanding place of teaching and learning as St. Mary’s Menston and are thrilled to be part of the inspirational 10 year partnership between the school and Mnyakanya High School in South Africa. This partnership has had enormous positive impact and is a very powerful example of the wide values and benefits of international collaboration and fantastic mutual learning.”
— Mr John Rolfe MBE, The British Council
“It was great to welcome John to St. Mary’s and to have him meet people involved in the partnership. I cannot thank John enough for his kind words and encouragement. Quite simply there would have been no Bambisanani Partnership without the British Council. The Bambisanani Partnership has it’s origins in a British Council/Youth Sport Trust programme called ‘Dreams and Teams’ that linked schools all over the world through sport. We have also been heavily involved in the British Council ‘Connecting Classrooms’ programme and more recently with the British Council and Premier League ‘Premier Skills’ programme which not only trains football coaches and referees but also has a fantastic scheme that uses football to promote the teaching of English. We are very proud indeed of our long and fruitful association with the British Council and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all the help, support and opportunities that they have provided us. We very much look forward to our continued work together.”
— David Geldart , Founder and Chairman of the Bambisanani Partnership

During his visit, Mr Rolfe was presented with a copy of the Bambisanani Partnership’s fourth book, Bambisanani: Ten Years of Working Together and Learning Together which he described as "truly inspirational and indicative of an amazing pioneering project".


The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.

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