AN ABERGELE school is spearheading a major educational project to help its students become global citizens and build a greener Europe.
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan has been chosen to lead an ambitious international bid for 250,000 euros worth of funding to help its students and schools in seven other European countries to develop a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
The school will find out in July if it has been successful in its bid for cash from the European Union’s programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport under the Erasmus+ project and on the theme All For a Greener Europe”.
If the go-ahead is given, young learners from Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan will embark on an exciting three-year programme, which will see them jetting off to work with counterparts in Turkey, Germany, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia and Italy.
They will also play host to students from schools in each of these countries when they visit Wales.
Teacher Andrew Goodwin, who as the school’s Learning Achievement Leader for 11-16s is in charge of the initiative, described it as a “golden opportunity” for its learners to reach out to other countries and become “global citizens”.
He said: “Our school already has a strong internationalist reputation and has represented the British Council in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Ghana.
“Currently, we are coming to the end of a two-year European project called Comenius, looking at different cultures and breaking down barriers between peoples.
“This has already involved groups of our students in visits to places such as Prague in the Czech Republic, Instabul in Turkey, Gran Canaria in Spain and Agnone in Italy and becoming involved in special assignments like producing music CDs, calendars and cook books for each of the countries we’ve been to.
“Our last visit, before that particular project comes to an end, will be to Bremen in Germany in June for which girls from our school have been rehearsing the traditional Welsh dance they will perform there.”
He added: “Our next major international project is Erasmus+ for which we have been selected as the lead for a total of eight schools.
“That means we have been responsible for preparing and submitting the bid to the European Union for 250,000 euros of funding on behalf of our partner schools in Istanbul in Turkey, Bremen in Germany, Bydgoszcz in Poland, Gran Canary in Spain, Karlskrona in Sweden, Horjul in Slovenia and La Spezia in Italy.
“The project has the theme All For a Greener Europe and is based on the mutual interest of the participants towards a more environmentally conscious life.
“There will be project work on topics related to nature, green tourism and ecotourism.
“All of the participating countries are aware of the dramatic situation caused by global warming and of the fact that transportation, travelling and tourism are also contributors to the greenhouse effect.
“Our main goal is to analyse current trends in tourism and promote future trends, which are intertwined with culture, traditions, environment and heritage.
“As we have done with the Comenius Project, we will have to complete tasks and activities such as visiting each other’s countries, making mini–tour guides and itineraries, creating presentations and booklets.
“The project will put schools into cooperation with local, national and international institutions and organisations.
“School staff will also interact with each other, creating international teams and sharing experiences.”
Andrew said that students aged 12 to 17, and accompanied by teachers, will travel abroad in small groups of three or four, to meet up with similar groups from all the other international schools involved.
He explained: “If our bid is successful, as lead school, we will play host first and welcome students from all the other participating countries next October.
“The main aim of the project is to prepare our students to become open-minded, culture-conscious citizens and skilled travellers who are consciously protecting the value of their tourism environment.
“It will also give them a golden opportunity to become global citizens, learn from other cultures, make international friendships and compare different cultures to their own.”
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan head teacher Lee Cummins said: “This is a marvellous opportunity for our students to break down international barriers and gain a valuable understanding of how people live and work in other countries.
“It will also hopefully lead to some very useful work being done in the area of environmental sustainability.
“We hope that the bid which we are leading on behalf of the eight schools is successful and can’t wait to be involved in this excellent project.”
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, which dates back to 1899, has more than 1,100 learners with 140 teaching and support staff. In summer 2014 it had its best ever set of exam results.