A primary academy in St Ann’s is celebrating after being twinned with a Chinese school and establishing a very positive link.

Sycamore Academy, which is part of the L.E.A.D. Academy trust hosted 25 pupils, the principal and two teachers from the Jiaochuan (COR) Central Primary school in the Zhenhai District of Ningbo City last week (4 to 8 July 2016) where both schools signed the official partnership document.

This partnership was formed as a result of a meeting held in Nottingham in September, which was part of the Ningbo 10-year relationship celebrations.

To celebrate a decade of City school partnerships with China, a special education conference was also held in September to highlight best practice in establishing international links. More than 50 people from Ningbo and Nottingham came together to look at the benefits that partnerships bring to school pupils.

Delegates from Ningbo, including the Chinese city’s Vice-Mayor Wang Jianhou, attended the conference, with up to 20 Nottingham head teachers. At the event, leaders from Nottingham and Ningbo signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ to set up new partnership links with more schools.

As a result of this conference, Sycamore Academy has been able to establish a partnership with a Ningbo school.

The school, on Abbotsford Drive, is the third in the city to be twinned with the Chinese city. It follows Bluecoat Academy and Welbeck Primary, which are both already both twinned.  Sycamore Academy is the first to host pupils and staff.

Nottingham is aspiring to be the UK’s most China-friendly city, building on the relationship established between the University of Nottingham and Ningbo more than a decade ago.

As part of last week’s celebration, the Chinese students joined Sycamore pupils as they meet the Sheriff of Nottingham, Councillor Jackie Morris, and visited the famous Nottingham Castle. There was a sports day and the children spent time learning alongside their English friends during classes. Following the signing of the partnership agreement, there was a morning of musical performances from children of both cities.

chinaL.E.A.D. Academy Trust representatives, including Diana Owen CEO signed the official twinning document.

Sycamore Academy Head teacher Paul Worley, said: “We are proud to become a truly international school and we feel privileged to be able to host our Chinese visitors and develop links with schools across the world. We are extremely excited about our new partnership with Jiaochuan Central Primary in China. We are looking forward to hosting the students and staff and welcoming everyone into the Sycamore 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.”

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills at Nottingham City Council, said: “Nottingham has a proud and long-standing relationship with China which has benefited our universities and schools alike. Our education links with Ningbo are pioneering and this twinning between Sycamore Academy and Jiaochuan Central Primary show that we continue to lead the way to build stronger links for the benefit of both of our cities.

“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. 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.”