Comenius 2012-2014 - Project Summary:
"Alternative and Augmentative methods of communication as a support aid in becoming an active European citizen".
Meadow High School is a coordinating school for the second Comenius project which involves three other SEN schools: an SEN school from Poland (Lodz), SEN primary school for Autistic students from Turkey (Kocaeli) and an SEN school from Germany (Hannover).
The international partnership involves working with the community of school professionals and students with different learning difficulties. We aim to compare and solve problems by finding and learning about new methods of teaching and by creating an international team to share experience among partners. Teachers and students learn about other countries, see similarities and differences of culture, religion, customs and systems of education. They have an opportunity to take part in international events and keep in touch with students and teachers from abroad – using ICT and during visits. This Project is an exchange of experience and information needed in creating common framework with a bank of new methods, techniques and resources in the field of special needs. We organise training/workshops and exchange experience, methods and tools used in each of the participating schools. This should give us deeper insight into different systems of educations and methodology used by each country to overcome communication difficulties for students with special needs. We are sure that thanks to the project we will be able to widen our horizons and enrich our knowledge in the field of special needs. By gaining deeper understanding of different ways of communication we hope to be able to make learning more accessible to our special students.
Thanks to the character and structure of the project, many disadvantaged students have already had this perhaps one in life time opportunity to travel abroad and be part of a global community.
During the life of our project we want to develop the knowledge and understanding of the diversity of European cultures and languages and its value. We aim to encourage learning of the alternative ways of communication as well as modern foreign languages. We aim to support the development of ICT as well. One of the main ideas in our partnership is to enhance the quality and European dimension of teacher training and that is why we provide workshops, training and conferences to improve strategies to communicate with special needs students.
The main impact of the partnership on the whole school society is the ability to create a balanced, international community consisted of teachers, students and wider community. Participants consisting of different genres, ethnicity, age and needs have a chance to learn about different cultures and experience different systems of education. Promoting international cooperation in the local community can help each school taking part in the Project to create its positive image. In the same way the local community gets the opportunity to be known in the partners’ countries. It promotes creativity and helps to develop a more informed, pro-European ethos within the participating schools and their local community.
Inspired by the story of Martin Pretorius, we want to find ways to stop students from being trapped in their bodies without a chance to communicate. By exchanging experience and knowledge we aim to educate each other and thanks to that, give our students a better chance to live their lives more independently. All institutions involved in the project benefit from better trained and experienced staff, new methods of teaching and resources. Wider community should benefit from more educated and experienced professionals and parents and much happier students.
Main Project Coordinator /Community Cohesion Leader.
COMENIUS VISIT 23-29 MARCH 2014
Day 1 : Sunday
Our German and Polish friends arrived at Heathrow on Sunday 23rd March and our Turkish visitors came late at night on Saturday. All went well except for lost and never found luggage of the Turkish teacher.
Day 2 : Monday
All visitors arrived at school where we had a whole school assembly. Mr Macdonald welcomed all visitors and our students performed a welcome dance and song in all languages.
Miss Depta greeted everyone in fluent Polish, good German and broken Turkish. After assembly, our Sixth Form students showed the visitors our school. They were extremely impressed with our facilities, especially with the hairdressing salon, gym and the horticulture facilities. All foreign students were then taken care of by their buddies and directed to their lesson. Teachers went to observe lessons.
After lunch, students continued with lessons and staff attended an Alert session run by Miss Bhopal.
In the evening we went to an amazing Indian Restaurant in Iver Heath where we all enjoyed the fantastic food. Some of our visitors have never tried Indian food before so it was a great experience.
Day 3 : Tuesday
After arrival at school, we had a 90 minute game session where students from all four countries played the emotion games designed by our Comenius team of teachers and students. It was an amazing experience because all students worked so well together and also because of how interesting the games were. We all regretted that we did not allow more time to play the games. After break and then lunch, students went to their lessons and staff did more observations.
After school, we went to Park Royal where we did bowling and then went to Nandos for dinner.
Day 4 : Wednesday
We went to London. First, we watched the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace. Then we went down to the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and had our lunch at the cafe there.
We then went to The Tower of London which we thoroughly enjoyed. After this we went to Leicester Square where everybody had some time to get souvenirs or just stroll down the streets of the capital. At 6pm we went to Yates pub for yet another British meal.
We arrived at Uxbridge at about 9.30pm - exhausted but still excited.
Day 5 : Thursday
The day started with lessons and lesson observations and with another project meeting for staff. After break, students and teachers took part in sport games in the hall and cricket outside. The guests enjoyed it all and especially loved cricket, which they have never played before. After games we had early lunch and then we went to London again. We saw The Natural History Museum and The Science Museum. After visiting the museums, we went to a Mediterranean restaurant next to The London Eye, serving lots of diferent food - including Turkish. At 8pm we experienced London by night - we went on The London Eye. This was an absolute highlight of the day and of the visit to some ! The weather was great and views were splendid ! Students loved it! After a long day full of amazing activities, we finally arrived at Uxbridge ..... at 9.45pm.
Day 6 : Friday
The whole group was invited to meet the Mayor and the Mayoress of Hillingdon. What an amazing visit it was. We could not thank the Mayor and his wife enough for this perfect time. All visitors agreed that they have never felt so welcome by any officials in any of the countries. One of the Polish students, Marcin, was dressed up as the Mayor and Megan from Meadow High School was dressed up as the Mayoress. We learned about the councillors' job and enjoyed tea and cakes. We were very lucky to be taken to the Mayor's Parlour in the way the public would not be normally allowed to enter and we were seated at the chamber. It was a very valuable and educating visit, which we truly appreciated and enjoyed.
After the visit we all went to school and had an early lunch. Then we had a farewell assemby, where we handed out gifts and gave speeches. Following this, we started the farewell party which began with our school band playing "Hallelujah". It was very emotional. The disco was a great success. All the students danced together and it was fantastic to see them all so happy.
After school, the group was given time to pack and to do some shopping. They were then picked up from the hotel and taken to The Water's Edge pub for our last supper and a party. Many members of Meadow High School joined us there. We had another typical British meal - roast dinner. Another disco then followed and we were even dancing a Turkish dance! It was wonderful to see all the students blending in and having fun together.
Day 7 : Saturday
It was an early start for the Polish team as we had to take them to the airport for 8am. We then had lunch with our German friends and dropped them off at 2pm. Our Turkish friends continued shopping in London and some went to Madame Tussauds. Their flight was late in the evening.
Main Project Coordinator /
Community Cohesion Leader.