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St Colm’s High host Dutch visitors at school

Fáilte: The Dutch delegation visited Twinbrook to observe teaching practice in St Colm’s High School, where they were welcomed by principal Adrian Walsh, second right Fáilte: The Dutch delegation visited Twinbrook to observe teaching practice in St Colm’s High School, where they were welcomed by principal Adrian Walsh, second right
By Staff Reporter

A delegation of Dutch educators have travelled to West Belfast to observe and learn from one of our local schools with the view of improving their own English classes.

The teaching group travelled to St Colm’s in Twinbrook in the hope of gaining some insight from the school’s renowned English department.

The head of the Dutch group, Lisette Bentvelzen, enthused about the opportunities and knowledge they had already gained from the trip. Talking to the Andersonstown News, she said: “We are here on a study trip to educate ourselves but we have been given the chance to come to and see how a school like this works. It has been very interesting.”

“We have seen some subjects here we would love to introduce into our school. Home Economics and Photography, we don’t have. These really specialised subjects would be lovely for us to have. It was also very interesting to hear about the school, the area it’s in and the high performance they achieve.”

Stressing the educational value of the trip, Ms Bentvelzen lauded the staff, students and facilities.

“The children are really lovely. We’ve been in several classes but we have not been teaching, because we are from a completely different school.

“We’ve just been observing in class, listening in, and the teacher explains to us what they’re doing. I talked to one of the students in a Home Economics class while she was cooking and she was enjoying herself and she mentioned something interesting. She told me, ‘Ive been away for a while and I’ve realised I can’t miss classes too much because you miss so much.’ It’s lovely to hear that from students.”

“Being in this school is very different for a lot of us. We have already been to a number of other schools, we’ve got some young colleagues with us and they haven’t seen this before, so it’s an eye opener, how different the education system is over here.”

Principal Adrian Walsh echoed these sentiments, stating that the staff and pupils were “delighted” to showcase their facilities and school ethos to their visitors.

“They came to us through InterEducation, who asked if we were willing to host a party of teachers from Holland as they were trying to improve English as a foreign language in their own setting.

“We felt it was a fantastic opportunity for them to come and see what we do. We have fantastic belief in our young people, we have an excellent English department and we would like to showcase St Colm’s as an outstanding school particularly in our provisions of English.

“We are delighted that they’re here and they’ve had an informative, enjoyable morning. It’s been a lovely event.”

On the possibility of furthering this relationship, Mr Walsh remained hopeful, telling the Andersonstown News: “Maybe there’s a partnership possibility with the school. It would be good to have contacts in another country, just so that we can share our experiences and our practices with different cultures and so on.

“There will be plenty that we can learn from them and maybe something they can learn from us.”

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