School of Education increases international footprint thanks to European bilateral agreements

Date 13.11.2015

Seventy students from across three degree programmes in the School of Education completed international study trips in either Sweden or the Netherlands this year, a 40% increase from previous years. This is a result of bilateral agreements with HAN University in Nijmegen and Jönköping University, Sweden, both of whom are Erasmus partners.

Students studying Early Childhood Studies, Childhood and Youth and Education Studies have the opportunity for a week long study trip in their second year which provides an international opportunity as an alternative to the longer three-month Erasmus exchange. The programme has been strategically built around this overseas study trip to ensure it is integral to the student experience and is clearly linked to the content of the degree.

Education Studies students focus on ‘alternative education’ in the Netherlands, visiting schools such as those for Gypsy travellers, barge families and approaches such as Steiner Waldorf and Jenaplan. Students on the Early Childhood Studies (ECS) and Childhood and Youth (C&Y) programmes investigate how Sweden responds to issues such as inequality, Special Educational Needs, social inclusion and diversity. ECS students visit preschools and early years settings, whereas C&Y students visit secondary schools, social services, Police department and Housing Associations.

Kyffin Jones, Senior Lecturer at the School of Education said: “We have received such positive feedback from our students. The trip not only shows them there is a life beyond Northampton but extends their knowledge to an international context. This will help us work towards the Bologna 2020 goals that recommend 20% of students have an international experience as part of their programme.”Commenting on how the trip had impacted her own professional development and learning, a returning student said: “I felt that this trip widened my knowledge in terms of International and comparative Education as well as encouraging me to research the Dutch Education System further.”
Student Tom Pell, who visited Sweden as part of his course, commented: “My experience of the Swedish education system has opened my eyes to how people of different cultures and populations differ in their approaches to educating their young people. The trip gave a wonderful insight into Swedish education with the addition of a well planned schedule which allowed myself to gain a well rounded understanding of the Swedish way of life including the Police service, the welfare system and much more.”