Established 1588 ffree Grammer Schole of Newport

Erasmus Project, Trip to the Basque Country

Report for local press

The 7th stage of an Erasmus project took place in the Basque Country, Spain 19th-25th November when 4 students and 2 teachers from the Joyce Frankland Academy, Newport joined up with students and teachers from schools from Poland, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Sicily, Netherlands and Finland to learn how it is to live, work and study in another EU country (for this stage the Basque Country).

The students learned about the Basque education system from its early stages in Kindergarten to secondary school education in Azpeitia, their base for the week to what University life is like when they visited the Universities of Mondragon and the Basque Country physics department. When not visiting educational institutions, the students took part in skype broadcasts with Basque Country captains of industry who gave freely of their time to inform the students about the type of industrial operations they were responsible for. These ranged from electrical engineering companies with operational bases throughout South America and Europe to Cooperative organisations in banking and the retail industry.

Throughout the stay the students all stayed with students from the Basque Country and sampled a week of living with a Basque family which included going to school and eating Basque cuisine. However, it wasn’t all work for the students and teachers. Cultural visits were arranged for the study party as they visited Bilbao and San Sebastian to learn how vital the tourist trade is to this autonomous region of Spain. Furthermore, the students and teachers were given an insight into one of the popular local sports of the region - Pelota. After being introduced to the equipment and some of the tactics of the sport the party watched a game with the many hundreds who filled the arena and were treated to a great spectacle, won on the final point 35-33.

Graham Hesketh International Coordinator who led the party from Joyce Frankland said he and his colleague fellow teacher Tim Rumsey were “highly impressed by the way the students from the academy settled into the week and participated and collaborated with the other students from across Europe as well as with their hosts. They were as usual outstanding ambassadors for the academy as well as for the UK and like those who have participated in the other 6 short term exchanges have come away from this trip with an appreciation that due to globalisation cooperation between nations is extremely vital in the commercial and educational world we live in today”

The 8th stage of this project takes place next February when students and teachers visit Estonia. Then in April 2018 teachers and students from the other participating schools will visit Newport for the final stage of the project which has only been made possible through the allocation of funds from the EU which the British Council as its agency has distributed.