International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt joined Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds and Love Actually director Richard Curtis to launch the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme on Thursday 13 September 2018 at St Joseph’s School in Wandsworth, London.

To mark the launch of the programme – which is co-funded by the British Council and unites pupils in the UK with school children in Africa, Asia and the Middle East – the visitors joined in the ‘World’s Largest Lesson’ , which saw Year 6 students at St Joseph’s link up with pupils at the Marka Prep Girls’ School N2, in the Marka refugee camp in Jordan.

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. The previous Connecting Classrooms programme involved more than 5,000 schools working in partnership and reached more than 1 million children between 2015 and 2018. DFID and British Council’s new programme builds on elements of Connecting Classrooms and the Global Learning Programme. It will increase awareness and understanding of global issues and different cultures by reaching a further 3 million pupils for a period of three years.

It will also train 60,000 teachers and school leaders in the UK and developing countries to equip pupils with the knowledge and skills 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.

Research has shown that ‘school linking’ can increase the quality of teaching and learning in the schools involved, improving both pupil engagement and teacher motivation.