The first two weeks after the May half term are usually amongst the happiest time of year for the staff and students at AES. It is our KS3 International Visits period when we usually wave away coach after coach full of excited students heading to France, Italy, Germany, Spain, China or Japan for a Residential or Exchange visit that they will remember forever.
Instead, we had to be creative about ensuring our international curriculum continues during this time in which we are not allowed to go abroad. The result was the 2021 inaugural Anglo International Fringe!
Week 1 from Monday 7th June to Friday 11th June was a ‘collapsed’ timetable in which the students from each year group spent time following a specially designed curriculum each day learning about international issues via a subject area in a more in-depth fashion. The activities included: International Enterprise days, International Arts Week, The Olympics, a day following Darwin round the world, International Poetry Day and Solving the World’s Problems through Maths day.
We were also very proud to restart our Visits Programme with year group day visits to Rochester for Year 7 to explore their History Curriculum in more detail at Rochester Castle and Cathedral and to the Hindu Temple for Year 8 in Watford to explore Hinduism with the RS teachers.
Week 2 from Monday 14th June to Friday 18th June found the students following their usual timetables but doing internationally focussed activities in their normal lessons. We also celebrated Dragon Boat Wednesday with the Chinese Department on Wednesday 16th June.
Finally, there was an internationally themed menu during the fortnight with days dedicated to Chinese, Italian and American gastronomy.
History visit to Rochester:
Students discussed their best strategy to besiege Rochester Castle and had a tour of the amazing Cathedral.
Religious Studies visit to a Hindu temple:
Year 8 students visited the Hare Krishna Temple in Watford – ISKCON at Bhaktivedanta Manor. This fabulous venue has recently had a large expansion to its buildings and they were so excited to show us around. Students saw the shrine, learned about Hindu gods and goddesses, got dressed up in traditional clothing, had a ride on an oxen-drawn carriage and more.
International Business Day:
Students in Year 7 and 8 had to design an international food product including ‘Fuego Chili Twist’ and ‘Go Go Mallows’! They used mind maps to think about the type of product, how it linked to a country/region. They decided who their target customers were and why they would buy their product and come up with some amazing marketing posters.
Science – Darwin Day:
Students followed Darwin on his journey round the world discovering new species and testing his theories of Evolution. Students made beaks and researched their evolutionary efficiency, they plotted out his journeys using old-fashioned route mapping and learned about how Darwin’s views were received by communities across the world.
On Wednesday 9th June, students were invited to do something completely different. A programme of activities designed around wellbeing meant that students were encouraged to be away from screens and focus exclusively on artistic, problem solving and creative pursuits.
Mindfulness classes offered students time to learn some strategies to relax their minds with a programme of: desk yoga, stretching, mindfulness colouring and affirmations. Students debated on whether changes made during the pandemic should be kept in place; they wrote some powerful pieces on ‘their COVID year’ or ‘What Internationalism means to Me’; they displayed some amazing artwork painting stones with flags and other international symbols; students speed ‘dated’ different genres of reading material at the reading café; experimented with different board or card games in the games café; learned the art of Soroban, an ancient Japanese practice using the abacus; spent the day replanting the school garden or completing a Duke of Edinburgh style training programme including orienteering.
Sixteen of our intrepid Year 8 students turned up for Wellbeing Wednesday in their full gardening outfits and weeded the overgrown school garden. They then reseeded the garden with a variety of different herbs, vegetables and flowers. They also built an ant colony. Each students earned the Royal Horticultural Society Award Level 1 & 2 and are currently working toward Level 3.
Students in Year 7 discovered more about origami in Japanese lessons, how to make Russian nesting dolls and Venetian masks and the art of Arabic calligraphy.
Year 8 had fun lessons in ‘Spanish around the world’ and salsa dancing , they ‘went’ to Paris in French lessons recreating famous French landmarks and escaping the French ‘Escape Room’ online and in German, students were making and eating German bagels.
Year 7 were tasked by the ‘World Water Resource Board’ to present an argument for why a country of their choice most deserved to receive water aid. Students utilised statistics and decided on the most appropriate compound measure to convince their audience, as well as conducting further research into the matter.
Year 9 Arts Activities:
The students in Y9 celebrated Arts Week through the creative subjects that they will be taking for GCSE next year. The theme of the Arts Week was ‘Moana’.
Students sanded down and painted wooden furniture in the theme of Moana, they learned parts of the script, they studied French Polynesia looking at the experience that tourists had of visiting Tahiti versus actually living there.
Art students designed Polynesian head dresses, Music students learned a variety of Polynesian songs, PE students participated in different types of international dance training and Food Technology students made Polynesian inspired biscuits and cakes.
There was a final performance in the amphitheatre for all students to showcase the learning for Arts Week. Everybody agreed that it was a fantastic way in which to give our students the chance to really engage with the creative subjects in an in-depth way and that it created a very special atmosphere around the school to hear the constant sound of music, singing and drama all day.
Overall, our International Fringe Fortnight was a great success. We couldn’t go abroad this year so we brought abroad to us!