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    A Bridge to France

    W5 and British Council Partner to Deliver Virtual Schools Programme to Build Language and STEM Skills

    Northern Ireland’s science and discovery centre, W5 has joined forces with the British Council to deliver an innovative virtual schools’ programme that aims to inspire engagement in languages and STEM.

    Building on the strength of a partnership spanning over 10 years, this latest joint initiative between W5 and the British Council entitled, ‘A Bridge to France’ is driving engagement in both languages and STEM, with a focus on engineering. Ten Key Stage 2 classes from across Northern Ireland are taking part in the programme, which is being delivered remotely through digital workshops and complementary learning resources, shipped to classrooms.

    Now under way, the 12-week programme aims to encourage schools to create international links in schools, whilst exploring the positive impacts on children’s learning when international links are utilised and embedded into the curriculum. Pupils will also enhance their skills in STEM, whilst learning about the amazing engineering involved in designing some of the most famous French landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower or the Millau Viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world.

    Towards the end of the programme, a hands-on bridge building challenge using resources provided by W5, will put pupils’ newfound knowledge and skills to the test, as they work in small teams to find an engineering solution to a real-world problem. Prizes will be awarded to the best solution by a panel of judges on 25thJune 2021

    Commenting on the programme, Elaine Steele, senior education and engagement officer, W5 said: “Over the last 10 years, our partnership with the British Council has driven significant engagement with schools across Northern Ireland. We’re delighted to build upon this foundation with a virtual programme that promotes the importance of learning a foreign language, whilst promoting skills in STEM.”

    Elaine Nesbitt, Consultant, British Council added: “We’re proud to partner with W5 on this exciting initiative. Students and teachers will have the opportunity to engage with a British Council French Language Assistant, who will introduce pupils to the French language and culture, as they learn about some of the incredible engineering involved in creating some of the world’s leading landmarks.”

    Schools taking part in the A Bridge to France progamme include:

    • Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin, Cliftonville Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim
    • St Teresa’s Primary School, Andersonstown, Belfast, Co. Antrim
    • Holy Rosary Primary School, Belfast, Co. Antrim
    • Moyle Primary School, Larne, Co. Antrim
    • St Anthony’s primary school, Larne, Co. Antrim
    • Drumgor Primary School, Craigavon, Co. Armagh
    • St Mary’s PS, Draperstown, Co. Derry-Londonderry
    • Clonalig Primary School, Crossmaglen, Newry, Co. Down
    • Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Greencastle, Co. Tyrone
    • Windmill Integrated Primary School, Dungannon, Co.Tyrone
    A Bridge to France 1

    Elaine Nesbitt from British Council; Bryan Laverty, Department of Education and Elaine Steele, W5 launch the ‘A Bridge to France’ programme – a joint virtual learning initiative between the British Council and W5. Building on the strength of a partnership spanning over 10 years, this latest joint initiative between W5 and the British Council entitled, ‘A Bridge to France’ will drive engagement in both languages and STEM. Ten Key Stage 2 classes from across Northern Ireland are taking part in the programme, which is being delivered remotely through digital workshops and complementary learning resources, shipped to classrooms. Picture by Colette O’Neill.

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