Latest from Europe Direct in  North East England - January 2014
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Your monthly e-bulletin to keep you up to date with the latest news from your Europe Direct centre in North East England
Welcome to the first 2014 edition of the Europe Direct North East England e-bulletin! We hope you all enjoyed the break and are feeling refreshed and ready to get started on exciting new international journeys this year. Read on for inspiration on how to kickstart your year...

Commonwealth Class training session

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 from 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Commonwealth Class is a joint initiative by The BBC, The British Council and The Commonwealth Institute; launched to help celebrate the value of The Commonwealth and connect its schools and young people to learn together about how to be active, responsible global citizens as part of the Commonwealth family.

Durham County Council's International Office is running a FREE training session for KS2/KS3 teachers who wish to make use of the new resources produced by these stakeholders to mark the Commonwealth games in Glasgow this year.

Commonwealth Class will enable more than 100,000 schools, 300,000 teachers and 17 million young people across the Commonwealth to access themed learning resources, take part in online exchanges and forums, and work on collaborative projects in cross-Commonwealth teams.

A special session has been arranged at County Hall, Durham to help teachers discover the resource materials which are aimed at pupils aged 7 – 14 years. The session will be suitable for KS2 teachers and for geography and citizenship leaders at KS3.

If you would like to sign up or find out more about this session, please contact Brian Stobie at or by calling 03000 268 500.


Schools across the world are being invited to get involved in the BBC Commonwealth Class debates, giving opportunity for topical global conversations for pupils around the world. All you need to take part is a computer with internet connection and some pupils - it doesn't matter how many!

Debates on different themes are scheduled most weeks and typically last around 2 hours. During this time, registered schools are invited to e-mail their pupils' opinions and comments on a particular issue to a designated e-mail address. These comments are then posted onto a live debate stream, allowing pupils from other schools across the world to instantly offer their feedback.

These debates are a great way to develop critical thinking skills and encourage young people to take into consideration viewpoints other than their own. In the run-up to each debate, useful preparatory resources are published on the site to help your pupils to get the most out of the experience.

For more information or to sign up to be a part of this exciting opportunity, please visit: The next live debate will be held 11:00-13:00 on Thursday 16th January and will examine the problem of homelessness around The Commonwealth.

The British Council has produced a new FREE teaching resource to help pupils think about what life is like for refugees from across the world and consider some of the controversial issues surrounding refugees, asylum seekers and migration:
The activities in this resource are aimed primarily at pupils in KS3, but most can be modified to suit slightly older / younger audiences.

This year, the International Office is looking forward to hosting a Swedish intern ! Adam Svedlund, who currently studies at Linnaeus University in Växjö, Southern Sweden, will be with us for 16 weeks from the end of January. If anybody would like Adam to come into school to tell pupils all about Sweden and its language and culture, please do get in touch with us! E-mail or phone 03000 268 500.

Don't forget...
The next deadline for applications to the Connecting Classrooms school linking programme is Friday 31st January. The Connecting Classrooms programme offers grants of £3,000 for partnerships between schools in the UK and other countries across the wider world to carry out reciprocal visits and meaningful project work together. These kind of partnerships help your young learners find out more about life in another country and really bring the international dimension in school to life! If you would like more information, please visit the following website:  
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