A new programme that is championing the teaching of global issues and exploring Catholic Social Teaching has inspired teachers around the country - and recent participants are urging other Catholic schools to get involved.
Teachers from across the country have taken part in special training days, run by international development charity CAFOD, and supported by the British Council, to help better understand how to integrate global issues - like climate change and peacebuilding - into the curriculum and the Catholic life of the school.
Inspired by the message of Laudato Si', the training day focuses on ways to promote sustainability, compassion, and solidarity, in the classroom and throughout the school.
Stephen Whelan, a teacher at St Edwards School in Hampshire, recently took part in the course: Connecting to the world: successful school linking.
He shared his experience of linking with Notre Dame School in Uganda - a partnership which has helped his pupils to better understand the global effects of climate change and inspired them to take action.
"Global issues should be the beating heart of a Catholic school," said Stephen. "Understanding faith in action is what makes it worth coming to work in the morning."
His pupils were so inspired by the partnership with Notre Dame, and how the pupils were affected by climate change, they have now vowed to plant 1,200 trees by March 2020.
"Young people are looking for opportunities to put their faith into action," said Stephen. "And, this project has meant the young people can say they are having a direct impact on climate change in our own country."
Besides the school linking course, there are three other courses to choose from, focussing on global learning and Laudato Si', the KS3 RE curriculum and running a Young Leadership programme.
They were created to help schools reflect on global justice issues, like climate change and peacebuilding, through the Sustainable Development Goals. They provide practical tools and strategies to help teachers weave these into teaching practice.
CAFOD's Head of Education, Monica Conmee, said: "Children and young people are at the heart of the battle against social injustice and are central in creating positive change in our world.
"Offering pupils global learning opportunities is an inspiring way to reflect the OFSTED requirements for a broad curriculum with demonstrable impact.
"These courses help teachers and chaplains to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to become active global citizens, through the curriculum, school life, and young leadership."
CAFOD's new free CPD is an opportunity to inspire the Catholic life of the school and put faith into action through embedding global learning into Catholic schools in the UK. Find out more at cafod.org.uk/connectingclassrooms
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