Headlines: February 12th, 2004

A new website has been launched by the Department for Education and Skills to help schools make links with other countries. The Gateway was developed by the British Council and it allows pupils to learn more about different cultures and be a significant boost to raising standards in the classroom. Schools now have quick and easy access to a wealth of information on developing an international dimension to all aspects of education. The site also gives teachers the chance to exchange ideas withcolleagues throughout the world.The Gateway includes a built-in partner-linking facility, links to other international education websites and a powerful search facility. There are also links to professional development for teachers, school leaders and educational authorities.

Education Minister, Charles Clarke has written to the education ministers in most other countries, inviting them to become international strategic partners in the Global Gateway. This involves making schools in their country aware of the facility and possibly providing a statement of their support for the Global Gateway, and in the longer term providing relevant information, which would appear on the website.

Examples of how the Gateway is being used include 15-year-olds at Tavistock College in Devon working with schools in Italy, Portugal and Finland to develop prototypes for new mobile phones. The joint design and technology project will be followed up by a visit to the Nokia factory in Helsinki this summer. The Shepherd School in Nottingham brought an international element to its work with pupils aged three to 19 who have severe learning difficulties. They have the opportunity to learn two languages, and correspond with pen pals in Finland.

More information about the Gateway is available by e-mail from info@dfes.gsi.gov.uk