Suzhou to Bedford Free School – a learning partnership and student exchange
Ten students from a top school in near Shanghai have joined Year 7 at the Bedford Free School for a ten week programme to learn English and experience British culture. The students will be at the school until July during which time they will attend normal lessons and immerse themselves in life at a British state school. The Suzhou Foreign Language School students and their teacher Miss Weidan have been giving some lessons to BFS students to help them learn Mandarin. BFS students have also learnt about Chinese culture, calligraphy and art.
During a special visit by school leaders, BFS Principal Mark Lehain and Suzhou Principal Mr Dong have discussed closer cooperation and the possibility of a return.As with all international exchanges, gifts were shared. Principal Dong presented Mr Lehain with a ceramic Panda and important symbol of peace and friendship in China. Mr Lehain presented a book – The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Mr Dong was delighted and remarked it would take pride of place at Suzhou Foreign Language School. Mr Dong was keen to learn as much as possible about our school, values and ethos. The visiting school leaders were keen to learn from BFS, we discussed assessment and different teaching strategies. Mr Dong was delighted with the experience we have offered to his students and talked about the importance of being able to send students to learn English in the UK. “We discussed the Maths mastery programme which we run at BFS which has been influenced and developed using similar techniques used to teach Maths in China and Singapore,” said Mr Lehain,
This year Suzhou Foreign Language School has 30 students placed at three different schools in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Suzhou Foreign Language School is a very large Chinese private school, one of the top performing with many of its students attending top universities in China, Britain (Cambridge), Canada and the USA. The Chinese students have been staying with local families in Bedford.
Principal Dong (Principal Suzhou Foreign Language School)
Mr Yuan (Vice Principal)
Mr Xie (Assistant Principal)
Miss Weidan (Teacher from Suzhou Foreign Language School staying with students during their stay at BFS)
Mr Liao (ASDAN China)
Jenni Wilson (Director of St Neots Language Centre)
Nicky Broadley (St Neots Language Centre)
Mark Lehain (Principal Bedford Free School)
Tim Blake (Assistant Principal Bedford Free School)