Monday 24 June 2019


Ten schools from across Northern Ireland celebrated their links with classrooms in Nepal today (Monday, June 24).

The schools, led by St Mary’s Primary School in Mullaghbawn, have been taking part in the British Council and DFID (Department for International Development)  funded ‘Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning’ programme (CCGL) which sees each school link with different classrooms in Nepal -  and today, they were able to welcome their partner schools to Northern Ireland with an event at Killeavy Castle in Co Armagh.

The event welcomed the Nepalese guests with traditional music, dancing and song and was a chance to celebrate the achievements of all 20 schools, with both teachers and pupils showcasing projects which focus  on a number of UN Sustainable Development Goals - including gender equality, life on land and quality education.

During the event, St Mary’s demonstrated how over the last few years they have been partnering with Jhapa Model English School in Nepal and aim to promote Gender Equality through Coding. 

Using digital technology, the pupils create a virtual classroom to communicate and share work with each other, and together, use coding for a problem-solving project which focuses on raising the profile of girls.

Speaking about the project was Ciara Crawley, St Mary’s International Co-ordinator.

She said: “We’re delighted to welcome our Nepalese guests to Northern Ireland who we were lucky enough to visit last year.  Today’s event is a great way to share and celebrate what we have achieved together so far on this Connecting Classrooms project and we hope this is a springboard for future collaboration.

“The pupils love to see international visitors – and through project like this, not only do they learn about their own country, but also about others and it’s so important - especially now - to give them that international outlook.”

The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme has been designed to build long-term partnerships between schools and communities in the UK and countries around the world. It runs in over 30 countries and aims to equip pupils with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to live and work in a global economy. 

The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme is part of an initiative that introduces the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, to students and teachers in the UK and around the world.  The goals are designed to deliver a more sustainable future for all and include tackling hunger, providing clean water and affordable clean energy.

It provides teachers with the resources and training to teach internationally and as part of this, partnered schools work together on a project focusing on one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and receive funding for reciprocal visits.

Also speaking about the programme Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, He said: 

“Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning provides our young people with an opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to thrive in an increasingly global society.

 “The partnership between Northern Ireland schools and those in Nepal show the huge impact these connections can have on pupils, teachers and the local community. We hope schools across Northern Ireland continue to sign up to take part.”

Schools interested in being part of the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning (CCGL) programme can sign up and find a partner school by going to: and selecting the part of the programme they are interested in, or by emailing

The next deadlines for applications is October 7 2019.

The British Council is the UK’s leading cultural relations organisation. For more information on current opportunities in Northern Ireland, visit, or follow on Twitter: @BCouncil_NI

Notes to Editor

For further information please contact: 

Claire McAuley, Communications Manager: T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Twitter: @BCouncil_NI, Facebook – 

Schools involved in the St Mary’s Cluster:

  • St Mary’s Primary School, Mullaghbawn
  • Holy Rosary Primary School, Belfast
  • Asssumption Grammar, Ballynahinch
  • St Patrick’s Primary School, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh
  • St Patrick’s Primary School, Enniskillen
  • Loowood Primary School, Belfast
  • St Mary’s High School, Newry
  • Saint Teresa’s Primary School Belfast
  • St Oliver Plunkett Nursery and Primary School (Beragh, Armagh, Tyrone)

About Connecting Classrooms

  • The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme will offer grants to fund visits by UK and developing country teachers to the partner school. Mobile digital platforms (such as WhatsApp and Zoom) will also be used to enable classroom-to-classroom activities between teachers and pupils.
  • The scheme is jointly funded and delivered by the British Council who will contribute £17m. DFID will contribute £21m.
  • The programme is for children aged between 7-14 yrs and it will operate in the following countries:



Sub Saharan Africa

Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

South Asia

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, India


Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco

East Asia


What’s the difference between Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning and Connecting Classrooms?

Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning builds on key elements of DFID’s most recent development education programmes: the Global Learning Programme (2013-18) and Connecting Classrooms (2015-18).

From the Global Learning Programme it adopts a focus on global learning and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a wide range of UK schools; a tailored approach to each of the four nations of the UK in order to align with their curricula; encouraging the formation of school clusters in order to achieve economies of scale and improve standards through peer learning; providing funding for supply cover so that teachers can access training; and encouraging local community action in line with the SDGs.

From Connecting Classrooms, it retains a focus on partnerships between schools in the UK and overseas, the provision of high-quality materials through the Schools Online website, advocacy and awareness raising of key educational issues overseas, and accreditation for schools through the International Schools Award (ISA). The programme will also continue to place emphasis on strong monitoring and evaluation.

In addition, Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning contains a number of new elements:

  • funding for reciprocal visits, so that overseas teachers can now visit partner schools in the UK, and help bring their country to life for UK pupils providing training to teachers on running equitable and sustainable partnerships;
  • the creation of a virtual partnerships platform for schools that are unable to take part in face-to-face partnerships;
  • a focus on training overseas teachers to develop their pupils’ skillset for the global economy e.g. entrepreneurial skills;
  • encouraging partnered schools to make local progress on an SDG as a shared project;
  • teacher training overseas to be aligned with DFID’s 2018 education policy, with a focus on education quality and inclusion;
  • accreditation for teachers and mapping other relevant awards for schools (such as UNICEF’s Rights Respecting School Award) to the ISA framework so that schools are duly recognised for their work on development education issues; in the UK, building on local community links and utilising local resources such as local NGOs, Development Education Centres, civil society organisations, higher education institutions, businesses, Regional Centres for Expertise, and encouraging Commonwealth Scholars, DFID staff, and returnees from the International Citizen Service and Voluntary Service Overseas programmes to visit local schools and discuss their experiences with pupils; and
  • a focus on a smaller number of priority countries, whilst adding Lesotho, given its strong links with Wales.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.