Well ... another busy academic year draws to an end.
Looking back, so much has happened since October 2017, when our In Others' Shoes project began. Project activity has largely been in short intensive bursts, when the team has come together, and then gone away to work independently.
On reflection, I am delighted with the progress made and feel that the project has influenced so much during that time - whether together or apart.
Personally, I have made a whole host of new friends, who I have the utmost love and respect for.
I had to laugh at a school training day, shortly after our last LTT event in May. No sooner had we started the session than the headteacher asked when the tea break was, as her teachers were tired and needed a rest. Our Erasmus+ teachers were dealing with very difficult concepts and vocabulary in a foreign language. The challenge level was immense - but we never heard anyone say they needed a rest!!
I feel that I now have a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding refugees and asylum seekers - how often we see them through a one dimensional lens, as victims, rather than human beings with many aspects to their identity and lives.
Derby now has a reception centre for newly arrived asylum seekers, staying here for just a few weeks, before moving elsewhere in UK. It was a pleasure to meet the community liaison coordinator, Rachael, and hear about the tremendous work going on helping new arrivals learn English and settle into British life. She was so interested in hearing about our European project and partners. Rachael understands the value of getting into schools and talking directly with young people.
More information can be found at https://www.migranthelpuk.org/
We discovered a keen appetite from local teachers to proactively deal with controversial issues in the curriculum. Being the lead partner in our Erasmus project has increased our confidence in delivering staff training on this theme. We applied the training we have received to develop a new course, focusing on critical thinking skills and using questions to explore sensitive issues - reaching more teachers in the process.
I feel that we wouldn't have attempted these teacher workshops without the great input and support provided by Flick and LIz on Philosophy for Children and the Global Teacher Award.
Partnerships with local schools, such as St Martin's School and Harrington Nursery, have been strengthened. The skills of our own staff and trustees further-developed, harnessed and enhanced. All due to our Erasmus project funding and opportunities.
So, the impact of our collaboration has had a knock-on effect to many aspects of our work here in Derby - it just takes a little reflection and awareness to see the bigger picture, overlaps and connections. Looking forward to more!