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International Secondary School of the Year

Staff and students at Archbishop Sentamu Academy, Hull, celebrated their newly gained title of International Secondary School of the Year, after winning first prize in the Link2Learn Awards.

The Link2Learn Awards, funded by the British Council and HSBC bank, are open to all secondary schools in the UK who have worked with an international partner school for more than 12 months and are designed to reward schools who have promoted internationalism throughout the schools and community.

The Academy holds the full International School Award (ISA) and already works with link schools in China, Argentina, Sierra Leone and Poland. Schools can only gain the ISA if they promote and educate students about other countries and cultures, encouraging them to become Global Citizens.  In order to gain first prize, Archbishop Sentamu Academy had to demonstrate not only that the links were mutual and beneficial to all schools involved, but also that the links impacted on the community and met the Government's domestic agendas such as Community Cohesion. Over the past twelve months, the academy had shown they have conducted staff and student visits to and from the partner schools, used local businesses such as a local Polish restaurant and liaised with other schools and universities in the area to meet the panel's criteria. Projects across countries allowed students from Sentamu to find out what other people their age thought about the issues that are important to them.
After the Academy hosted 12 Chinese students from their longest serving partner school in Beijing, China, student Naomi Kitching said, "At first communication was quite difficult but then we went on the internet translator to ask each other questions. It was fun! And now I have met 2 new friends, it was a great experience." Year 9 students are preparing to leave for a planned trip to Dabrowa, Poland next week after conducting a joint project together last year. Each year group also experiences 'Focus Fortnight' where a lesson in all subject areas is taught with a focus on a particular link country. Year 7 focus on Sierra Leone, after Africa Day last year Jasmine Randerson said, "I learnt how to play African drums. I learnt about Sierra Leone through raps and photographs. We also made African masks with clay – it was a great experience!"
Students also learned on 4 October 2010 that their first shipment of medical supplies to the Health Centre of link school FSSG in Freetown, Sierra Leone had arrived. Teacher Stacey Holland said, "Fundraisers such as a staff drop box, balloon race, cookery competitions and silicone bracelet sale raised the money to send stock to the health centre. Our students were really keen to help the health centre, which looks after 3000 FSSG students and their families."
Archbishop Sentamu Academy was opened in 2008 as a new learning community set in the heart of East Hull. It is sponsored by the Church of England Diocese of York and dedicated to providing a 21st century learning environment that expands choices and opportunities for its students. In 2011 the Academy will move to a new £35 million building on Preston Road set at the centre of the cultural and civic amenities found there.