South Tyneside primary wins British Council’s prestigious International School Award for the third time

A primary school in Jarrow has been awarded the British Council’s prestigious International School Award for the third time running. St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, won the award in recognition of its exceptional work in international education.

Teacher Anne-Marie McQuillin, who co-ordinates the international dimension at the school, was presented with the award at a celebration at the Houses of Parliament, where she was joined by Jarrow MP Kate Osborne.

From sharing penpal letters with students at their partner school in Noisy-le-Sec in the Parisian suburbs in France to taking part in the European Christmas tree decoration exchange, the school’s international curriculum is rich and varied. The pupils also learn about books, festivals, music, food and other faiths from around the world as part of their international learning.

Anne-Marie McQuillin said: “We believe that international learning is key to ensuring that our pupils become responsible citizens and show respect towards others. Our children love learning about the world, different languages and ways of life. As well as developing respect for diversity and difference, our international work is as much about appreciating our similarities and understanding that we are all one. Gaining the award for the third time running is a fantastic achievement and is testament to our school’s commitment to embedding a rich and creative range of international work.

The International School Award encourages and supports schools to develop:

  • An international ethos embedded throughout the school.
  • A whole school approach to international work.
  • Collaborative curriculum-based work with a number of partner schools.
  • Year-round international activity.
  • Involvement of the wider community.

Scott McDonald, chief executive of the British Council, said: “The school has earned this prestigious award through its inspirational international work and links with schools abroad. The International School Award is a chance for schools to be recognised for their important work bringing the world into their classrooms. This is especially commendable when schools have been deeply affected by the global pandemic. The desire to build on their international work shines through and it is with utmost pride that we celebrate their achievements. By embedding an international dimension in children’s education, these schools are preparing their students for successful lives in the UK or further afield, empowering them to be global citizens, and are creating vital opportunities in an increasingly global economy.

Headteacher Moya Rooney added: “We would be thrilled to help other schools gain the award through our ambassadorial role. Anne-Marie McQuillin has supported a number of schools in applying for the award, in her role as teacher at St Bede’s and previously as primary languages coordinator for South Tyneside. Please get in touch if you would like to meet with her to discuss the award process, get ideas for international activities or for creating/maintaining partnerships with schools abroad, or if you would like a staff twilight session to kickstart or restart your school’s International School Award journey.

Email Anne-Marie McQuillin at: for more details about support with international activities and the award process.

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Pictured: Anne-Marie McQuillin (front row, third from right) being presented with the award at the Houses of Parliament with Scott McDonald, chief executive of the British Council (back row, second from left), and representatives from other schools.