Seven Norfolk Teachers fly off to China on fact-finding mission

Seven Norfolk teachers have flown to China to see if they can pick up tips on how to improve schools in the county.

The trip has been organised as part of Norfolk County Council's decade-long partnership with the Xuhui District in Shanghai, with teachers from Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Swaffham, Attleborough and King's Lynn among those who jetted off.

Watchdogs from Ofsted last year expressed 'considerable concern' about the county council's strategy for school improvement, which led to the authority's Norfolk to Good and Great programme – aiming to improve performance.

The visit to China fits in with that improvement drive and council

leaders have stressed that taxpayers will not foot the bill for the journey.

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The teachers will remain in China until Saturday, May 31, where they are looking at the professional

development of staff – a strength of the Chinese education system.

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The trip is one of three international visits looking at areas of expertise in China, Norway and France. The French trip, to Toulouse, focused on vocational education and a trip to Norway, next month, will focus on primary education and inclusion.

The visits will lead to an international conference in the summer, bringing together staff from across the county to hear from speakers from each country. Headteachers and education officials from the partner countries will also be attending the conference at the University of East Anglia on Thursday, July 10.

Mick Castle, cabinet member for education and schools at Norfolk County Council, said the Shanghai partnership helped to give children an understanding of a different culture.

'As part of our Norfolk to Good and Great programme we have organised three further foreign visits.

'The three countries are seen as international leaders in the chosen fields and we know that they will have much to offer in helping to bring fresh ideas to our schools, building on the very best global practices.'

He added: 'Funding for the trips is also met by funds we receive from hosting Norwegian students in the county and not from the wider education budget, which means the visits are at no expense to taxpayers.'

The schools taking part are Attleborough Academy; Great Yarmouth High School; St William's Primary School in Norwich; Magdalen Gates Primary School in Norwich; Holly Meadows Primary School in King's Lynn; Swaffham Infant School and the Nar Valley Federation of Church Schools.

Has your school got a story to tell? Call education correspondent Martin George on 01603 772468 or email

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