A Wandsworth School launched the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme on Thursday September 13.

The International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, joined Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education and Love Actually director Richard Curtis went to St Joseph’s School, Putney to launch the programme.

The programme unites pupils in the UK with school children from around the world. To mark the launch the visitors joined in the World’s Larges Less. This was year 6 students and St Joseph’s link up with pupils at the Marka Prep Girlss School in Jordan.

International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt said: “The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme is a win for the UK and a win for the developing world. Children and teachers in the participating countries are learning from each other and creating lasting friendships.

“I have been really moved to hear the stories of children taking part in the programme learning how much they actually have in common, how alike they are. I also know from my travels, how much teachers in developing countries value the support and knowledge of British teachers.”

The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme has been designed to build long-term partnerships between schools and communities in the UK and countries around the world.

The previous Connecting Classrooms programme involved more than 5,000 schools working in partnership and reached more than 1 million children between 2015 and 2018.

The new programme builds on elements of Connecting Classrooms and the Global Learning Programme. It will increase awareness and understanding of global issues and different cultures by reaching a further 3 million pupils for a period of three years.

It will also train 60,000 teachers and school leaders in the UK and developing countries to equip pupils with the knowledge and skills to live and work in a global economy.

The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme is part of an initiative that introduces the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, to students and teachers in the UK and around the world.

The goals are designed to deliver a more sustainable future for all and include tackling hunger, providing clean water and affordable clean energy.

Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds said: "This was a great opportunity to see how Connecting Classrooms is making a difference in schools around the world. At St. Joseph's I saw children of different faiths and backgrounds working together and learning from each other. That kind of collaboration is a lesson for us all.

"It is absolutely vital that we share the very best of our education system and learn from the very best of others. Only in doing so will we get closer to forging a global understanding of what education can achieve."

During yesterday’s lesson students worked together to share ideas and design the world they would like to live in by the year 2030 - the deadline set for the UN's Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved. The lesson ended with guests and students making personal pledges of action on what they could do to achieve the Goals.

Research has shown that ‘school linking’ can increase the quality of teaching and learning in the schools involved, improving both pupil engagement and teacher motivation.