A primary school in The Meadows is one of the first in the country to use Chinese social media to break barriers and forge links with children in China.
Welbeck Primary will use China’s own version of Facebook and Twitter – Weibo – to share photos and stories when it becomes the first primary to twin with a school in Nottingham’s twin city in Ningbo.
The relationship is another important link between the two cities. Jinshan Primary is in the Yinzhou district in Ningbo, where the University of Nottingham has one of its international campuses. This year Nottingham will celebrate its 10th twinning anniversary with Ningbo.
Western social networking sites are not allowed in China, so Weibo will allow pupils to show each other what life is like in their two cities.
Using Weibo is one of a number of ways the new twinning link will be marked as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, which start on Thursday 19 February.
The Confucius Institute at the University of Nottingham and members of Nottingham Chinese Scholars Association have also run a workshop with Welbeck pupils, where they taught pupils how to draw Chinese characters and how to say “Hello” and “Happy New Year”. Pupils were also taught Tai chi and Origami paper cutting.
These workshops helped to encourage the students to think about the differences between life in the UK and China.
The twinning relationship will focus on Year 4 pupils and the majority of communication will be via letter and Chinese social media. The Confucius Institute is running further workshops and courses at schools across Nottingham during the Chinese New Year festive period.
Executive Assistant for Schools Councillor Sam Webster said: “This twinning and the events surrounding it are proof that Nottingham is recognising the growing influence of China and is encouraging more young people to get a better understanding of the country.
“This new relationship will help to broaden the horizons of Nottingham children and make learning more exciting. They will be able to communicate with and learn about a different and fascinating culture, better preparing them for life in the increasingly global world of the 21st Century.”
Welbeck Head teacher Ms Carol Norman said: “Welbeck Primary is a truly International school in terms of our own diversity and we have a great reputation and years of experience of hosting International visits and developing International links with schools across the world. We are extremely excited about our new links with Jinshan in China.
“We are looking forward to hosting the students and staff and welcoming everyone into the Welbeck community. I am sure we have a lot to gain from sharing best practice and the children are very excited at the thought of making new friends from China.”
Confucius Institute Chairman Professor Chris Rudd is set to take over the helm at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) this summer when he takes up a new role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the campus.
Professor Rudd said: “I’m delighted to see one of our local schools getting involved with an initiative of this kind. This will further strengthen the relationships forged through the opening of the University’s campus in Ningbo and the City of Nottingham’s subsequent twinning with Ningbo.
“It’s never too early to teach children that we are all global citizens and about the importance of building links and friendships across nations.”