A cluster of Cardiff schools received a visit from Africa this week as part of a British Council scheme, set up to bring an international dimension to pupil learning.
Cathays High School have been liasing with teachers from Ghana and Nigeria as part of the Connecting Classrooms project and organised a three-day visit for their international guests to experience their partner city.
During the visit, teachers exchanged classroom methods and experienced life in a British school to enhance their own teaching in their home country.
Eluned Davies-Scott, Head of Community Education at Cathays High, has been a key figure in the organisation of the project.
She said: "We have named the project The Familia Partnership here. It's about sharing teaching and pupil experiences and establishing a sustainable connection between the schools."
The Connecting Classrooms scheme has been set up and funded by the British Council with the aim to build lasting partnerships between schools in the UK and around the world. The programme is designed to build trust and understanding between people in different societies, in order to establish better global connections.
Grants are made available for schools to support the development of partnerships and to cover project-related costs. Applicant schools are selected by the British Council on an application basis, and are in turn assigned one or more partner countries. Each partnership consists of the clusters of three schools, one cluster from the UK and two from African countries.
Cathays High School, who share a cluster with Roath Park Primary School and Grangetown Nursery, were notified of their application success last year.
Since then Eirian Thomas, Head of Modern Foreign Languages, has travelled to Kenya to attend a conference to set up the partnership. "I had not been to Africa before, so I was really interested in everything I saw," she said.
"At the conference we formed our partnership cluster, which we called the Familia Partnership. The group is made of the three schools in Cardiff, as well as three from the Surelere, Lagos area of Nigeria and three from the Ayawaso East, Accra area of Ghana."
Most recently the schools have been working on a story-telling festival, where stories from all cultures are shared and discussed via a web link. The festival will conclude with a display showing the best of the work from the project.
But the Cardiff cluster has gone to greater lengths to support their partner schools than expected of them by the programme.
"We've been raising money in Cardiff to send out to Africa," said Mrs Davies-Scott. "The money funds sustainable projects for the schools, for example they have used the money to buy cows and a piggery, as well as planting gardens."
The Cardiff schools have recently raised enough money for one of their partner schools to build a dormitory to house thier orphaned pupils.
"We have also laundered and packed up all our lost property to send out to Africa," said Mrs Davies-Scott. "We hope our efforts will help them out with the AIDS epidemic."