At Northgate we are proud of our international links and the professional development of our staff. Earlier in the year, Mrs Clay travelled to Sweden to experience their school system and how Maths is taught. Last week we welcomed Susanna Sender to Northgate to experience the school system in England. Here she writes about her experience:

’During 3 days, I have had the pleasure of being able to visit Northgate High School, as part of a teacher exchange program between Northgate and my school back in Sweden. In Lund, which is in the very southern parts of Sweden, I work as a Science teacher, teaching Science to students in 7th-9th grade  (the equivalent of Year 9 to 11 in England).

The main purpose of my visit here was to see how issues concerning sustainable development are incorporated into the education in English schools, and to enable a student collaboration between students here and my students back in Sweden. But more than that, the aim was also to just experience a typical English school day, talking to students and teachers, and to see what differences and similarities there are compared to the Swedish school system.

As part of this, on my first day here I visited the ELF area (External Learning Facility), where Mr McDonald was kind enough to show me around the premises. I was completely overwhelmed by this very unique little garden area, containing everything from goats and ducks to an amphi theatre and an outdoor classroom, as well as a proper, fullsize WW1 trench where the students can learn about history in a very hands-on and realistic way. The whole facility has been constructed out of recycled material from the school building, which also gives the students an idea of the importance of resource management. I was absolutely amazed by the hard work that has been put into this facility, as well as the numerous opportunities provided here for the students – both educational and recreational.

Both the staff and the students at Northgate have been welcoming me with open arms during my visit. I have been in several lessons with lots of different teachers, which gives a good picture of different teaching techniques and methods available. What I like the most is how the teachers here really seem to involve the students in their lessons, making the learning process active for kids at all levels. All the teachers I have visited have been very professional and well-organised, managing to engage all students regardless of their different capabilities.

In all classrooms, learning is made visible by colourful posters and pictures, various learning related quotes from famous scientists, and all sorts of models and exhibitions. One thing I really liked, for example, was the trigonometry tree – or the ‘trigonome-tree’ outside the Maths department. It is simply a regular tree, that has been decorated with small wooden signs with different mathematical and physical formulae. It is a creative and lovely way of visualizing abstract concepts for the students.

When I go back to Sweden, I will take with me a whole lot of inspiration and new ideas that I will want to bring into my own teaching. I am also hoping to be able to set up a project where students at both schools could exchange experiences and thoughts about how sustainable development can look in their respective countries.’

Below you can find Mrs Clay’s article about her visit in the Swedish School’s magazine.