What is the school link?
It's an interactive website that was designed to help children aged between seven and 11 to understand more about the daily lives of their peers in developing countries.
As schools development manager, I was involved in piloting it last March in three different regions across the UK, and it was such a success that we decided to roll it out in September. More than 340 schools have already signed up and we have got links with a school in Pakistan and the Yunnan province in China.
How does it work?
We visit the schools in Pakistan and China every term and collect information about what they have been doing. Then we update the site with the stories they want to share. The website also has games and a lot of downloadable resources that fit in with the national curriculum so teachers can use them.
What feedback have you had so far?
All the feedback has been very positive, especially when we did the pilot. Children have been really enthusiastic about the fact that it's ICT-based and they can just explore the site on their own. They also really like the fact that the stories are real. Although the site isn't used as a way for children in different countries to communicate with each other directly at present, we see it as the first step towards a linking initiative.
What is Friendship Friday?
It's on 19 May and is a chance for pupils to raise money for the children they have been learning about. We send them blank friendship fun bands, which they can decorate with a visual message to be taken to children in Pakistan and China. For a donation of £1, they can also get a charity wristband. Schools that send in donations before 16 June are entered into a prize draw and the winning school will get a visit from children's author Nick Sharratt and Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq.