PORTUGAL - OLHÃO
Agrupamento de Escolas Professor Paula Nogueira is a school cluster made up of two lower secondary schools, six primary schools and four kindergartens. It is located in a priority educational territory, due to the low socioeconomic background of many of its inhabitants, the pupils’ school results in national exams and early school leaving. Our school cluster has nearly 2000 pupils ranging from 3-15 and over 100 teachers. There are classes of CEF (Vocational Training), PCA (Alternative Curriculum) and PIEF (Integrated Program for Education and Training) for those students who are at risk of leaving without completing their basic education. We are a reference school cluster for pupils with multiple disabilities. It is our belief that by having the possibility to work with pupils from different origins and countries towards a common goal, it will not only increase our pupils’ motivation and self- esteem but also give them a better understanding of the opportunities EU provides for qualified workers, in the hope they’ll realise school education/vocational training is always the best choice. Our school cluster has been involved in European funded projects since 2009/2010 – 4 Comenius school partnerships, 6 Comenius in-service training mobilities, 10 Erasmus Plus KA219 which have included all school levels, from Kindergarten till the 9th Grade, 4 Erasmus Plus KA229 and 3 Erasmus Plus KA1. The reason why we have been so active is that during the last external assessment the school cluster was subjected to, the team of assessors identified the participation in national and international projects as one of the strengths of our school cluster, with positive results in terms of interaction with the community. The school cluster is motivated to join this project because it aims at developing our students’ 21st Century skills, motivating students to learn and also because it allows us to involve students aged 6-15 at the same time in the same project. We have had projects aimed at primary level and at lower secondary level, but never before we have had a project which allowed us to join our strengths and collaborate between levels this deeply. The key people in running the project have all permanent positions at school and are well-experienced in cooperating with students, parents, the local community and international partners. Our team consists of teachers of mother language, foreign languages, Science, Math, Physical Education, ICT and Art so, if one person decides to change school, which is not foreseen, any of the other teachers can take charge of the implementation of the project. The International project's coordinator, since 2009, is also the head of the school board. We strongly believe our experience in implementing projects over the previous 10 years together with our commitment to always providing our students with better learning opportunities, make us an added value to this partnership.