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.

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.

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


  • NCC are a complete joke, the amount of our money they waste is criminal! These people should be sacked, they seem to answer to no one. What next??

    Report this comment


    Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • Whoever approved this should be sacked. How much is this costing?

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • Looks like the emphasis of our MP's and assorted teachers is on the primary school ages, moulding minds in very young age, with a system that denies school children the same human rights than other human beings, children need consistency, routine and good teaching, not forever changing agenda's foisted upon the education system by every more deluded education ministers.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, May 25, 2014

  • What the hell is going on??? I thought we were all suffering cuts due to NCC incompetence over incinerators and an old air base but we can waste, yes, waste, thousands on a jolly. Someone needs to explain this and someone else needs to be removed from office for approving it. There was no need for this at all, as others have stated, technology exists for conferencing.. Madness gone mad.

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Sunday, May 25, 2014

  • 12 term next week so hardly term time. Also Norfolk has been to China many times and of course RDS, Truss and others went to China just a few months ago. It is about time all these different grps grew up and started to share ideas and things learnt abroad rather than keep wasting public money.

    Report this comment


    Saturday, May 24, 2014

  • Jollies! Haven't we the facilities for teleconferencing. NCC should not be spending money on ill considered things such as this.

    Report this comment


    Saturday, May 24, 2014

  • So its alright for these useless teachers to go on a jaunt during term time, but not taking your kids out for a holiday. Time for NCC to sack or get rid of Castle who obviously agrees with all this

    Report this comment


    Saturday, May 24, 2014

  • And I dont want my grandchildren anywhere near ideas picked up from an education system initially designed to churn out passes to enter royal civil service and then honed under Chairman Mao and later Communist regimes thank you very much.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, May 24, 2014

  • A number of articles in the serious press expressing concern about the validity of the results much quoted, the schools taking part in the international testing scheme and more especially the nature of education in China would seem to allow us to conclude that this trip is an act of extreme folly. Not only do British students hold up well in some aspects of these "tests"-independent reasoning for instance-they are not part of a system which allows physical punishment, screaming and shouting at children, long hours, excessive rote learning and excessive parental pressure. These aspects of Chinese education have been written about recently. If Norfolk teachers wanted examples of good teaching and sound education they should apparently, be looking to Finland. Mick Castle can blather all he likes- I see no evidence of his academic prowess anywhere online-and I have known kids from Great Yarmouth schools who had never been to Norwich and had no idea where North Walsham and Aylsham were so pretty pointless worrying about Shanghai and a Chinese government propaganda exercise.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, May 24, 2014

  • Jollies, jollies, jollies for the teachers. Waste of money.

    Report this comment


    Saturday, May 24, 2014

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