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Furness Education Trust staff head to European Capital of Culture

This week, three teachers from Furness Education Trust have visited Kaunas, Lithuania as part of one of the Trust’s Erasmus+ projects. Teachers Emma Coulter and Glenn Kaighan from Furness Academy and Natalie Thompson from Yarlside Academy have been working with European colleagues on the BRIDGE project, as part of the Trust’s “Furness International” programme.

The focus of the BRIDGE project is primary transition and the experience students have moving from primary to secondary education. In collaboration with colleagues across Europe, Furness Education Trust will be delivering a varied STEM curriculum that seamlessly transitions students from primary school to secondary school with all the skills they need to access the full curriculum. Alongside this, the project outcomes will include a training course for teachers via an e-learning platform to ensure they have the skills required to support students through primary to secondary transition and a training kit for parents who can help support their own children as they move into secondary education. Finally, the project will also produce an app that will directly support the students during their transition and alleviate any worries they may have about the change from primary to secondary school. All the above outcomes will be made available online when the project is completed and will be accessed by teachers, school professionals and parents across Europe.

Furness Education Trust were awarded the BRIDGE project by Erasmus+ in August 2020 during the final round of applications post-Brexit. The Trust is the lead partner on this project worth over 430,000 euros. Due to the pandemic, the first year of the project saw meetings held virtually. However, with the easing of travel restrictions, there has been the opportunity to host these visits in person now. This started with staff visiting Porto in November and now the meeting this week in Kaunas. Kaunas is one of three cities this year holding the European Capital of Culture 2022 title. As Lithuania’s second largest city, the visiting teachers have enjoyed great food and tours of some of Kaunas’s beautiful museums and theatres.

Emma Coulter, lead teacher on the BRIDGE project and head of Science at Furness Academy said, “I have really enjoyed being part of the BRIDGE project and look forward to further developing the outcomes with our European partners. I have been involved with the Furness International programme previously, as part of an earlier Erasmus+ project. However, this project has allowed me to take the lead teacher role and have real impact on the project outcomes. The opportunities provided by this programme, from travel to professional development to creating relationships across Europe, have been amazing and I look forward to continuing work on the BRIDGE project”.

Simon Laheney, CEO of Furness Education Trust said, “We are aware that the move from primary to secondary education can be daunting, both academically and personally for our young people. The BRIDGE project was created to develop supportive tools for teachers and parents to help their students through this transition. Furness Education Trust is uniquely positioned as offer insight into primary to secondary transition. This is something we work hard on each year to make the transition for our students as seamless and easy as possible. The BRIDGE project is just another example of the work delivered through our Furness International programme and I am pleased we can offer these amazing opportunities for travel and development to our staff and our students”.

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