Category Archives: The Commonwealth Class

Commonwealth Class debates – last chance to join in!

The last three Commonwealth Class debates before the end of term will take place from 11.00 – 13.00 on the following days

Thursday 5 June:  Our Home and Native Land – Join us for a live debate which features our first Commonwealth Class School Stories competition-winning film! The film was made with a school in Canada and this debate will focus on indigenous people within Commonwealth Countries and how we protect our heritage.

Thursday 12 June – Authors Live: Going Wild with Steve Backshall – wildlife journalist, adventurer and writer Steve Backshall will talk about the conservation issues that feature in his action adventure books. Join us as we team up with Authors Live for a debate about animal and environmental conservation.

Thursday 19 June: A debate focusing on education which features our competition-winning film from a school in East Kilbride.

For more information please visit

Game On Scotland Plaques Go International

Trailblazers from a Highland primary joined in an online Commonwealth Games celebration with the first Canadian schools to get Game On Scotland awards.

Thanks to a virtual link up, Crown Primary School pupils in Inverness are able to swap experiences with three schools successfully being awarded Game On Scotland plaques in Toronto. Taking the total number of plaques awarded to over 100.

Crown Primary was the first worldwide to receive a Game On Scotland plaque, presented by Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, last November so it was especially exciting for the youngsters to witness the first ever presentation of a Game On Scotland plaque abroad.

Ms Robison presented the schools with plaques on 1st May at Toronto’s Ryerson University. The Cabinet Secretary was on an official visit to Canada, coinciding with the Queen’s Baton Relay being in the country.

The awards and live link up came during a British Council-organised Commonwealth Sports Day in Toronto, a stopping point of the Queen’s Baton Relay. They are part of Commonwealth Class, a Supporting Legacy 2014 project, that is endorsed by Game On Scotland.

Inverness pupils and Canadian counterparts were able to put questions to the Cabinet Secretary as well as interact with Canadian athletes who will be coming to Glasgow to compete this summer.

The Highlands are twinned with Canada as part of the Support A 2nd Team initiative.

Ms Robison said: “It is fantastic to see the Game On Scotland precedent that was set so ably by Crown Primary School, being followed up today with these plaque awards in Toronto, among the first internationally.

“The Commonwealth Games is an inspirational springboard for learning activities around global citizenship, and encouraging young people to strive to be the very best they can be.

“Thanks to programmes like Commonwealth Class, and Support a 2nd Team, links can be forged across continents which I hope will endure as a lasting legacy beyond the Games.”

Game On Scotland provides a unique platform for schools and organisations to share their Commonwealth learning activities with an international audience. Over 700 schools and organisations across the globe have set themselves a challenge inspired by the sporting spectacle of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

It is so exciting to read of the creative and exciting learning opportunities for young people globally, to understand how the Commonwealth Games is an inspiration to them and gain insight into things which are important to them. There are so many really creative approaches to using the Commonwealth Games as a context for learning and we would like to share a few with you.

As a result of Game On Scotland, learners in Nyarach Primary School, Kenya will hold their first ever Sports day. In contrast, St. Francis Nursery and Primary School, Nigeria are keen to understand the importance of being part of Commonwealth. In the aspect of oneness, being connected together as part of the Global Village.

Bogra Zilla School in Bangladesh hope their links with a partner school will help them develop a deeper bond of brotherhood across the distance. There is a focus on Culture, of the educational ties between them as well as challenging one another in a mini games.

Milford School in Aukland, New Zealand are writing and performing a school production based on their journey to the Commonwealth Games. En-route, children will perform dances and musical items representing a range of countries as they investigate the true meaning of being involved in an event such as the Commonwealth Games.

Highgate International School in Cyprus have learners from 29 different nationalities. They are inspired by the Commonwealth Games to find out more about Scotland – its geography and rich history, putting famous explorers, inventors and sports stars in the spotlight.

With over 25 International partners representing a number of Commonwealth nations and territories already on the map there has never been a better time to make use of the advances in technology. There are fabulous opportunities for our learners to make connections with their peers around the world.

The British Council have over 80 years’ experience in promoting international cultural relationships whilst through BBC Commonwealth Class, learners from around the globe can link up to debate topical issues or embark on special projects.

Our message today is “it’s not too late to get involved!” Set your challenge where you are at, learners from Iochdar School, South Uist are particularly interested in the challenges facing rural communities across the Commonwealth. They want to encourage their community to develop a healthier lifestyle through a variety of physical challenges.

Whatever your challenge, big or small we would like you to share it with us giving your young people an opportunity to learn more about the values that shape our Commonwealth in 2014. In doing so, you can join Crown Primary, their Canadian partners and over 100 other education establishments in being awarded a Game On Scotland plaque in recognition of your achievements.

The BBC Commonwealth Class Finale, 24 July, Glasgow!

BBC at the Quay is a 16-day festival running alongside the Commonwealth Games. A number of radio and TV programmes will be broadcasting from tents outside BBC Scotland headquarters at Pacific Quay, Glasgow. Commonwealth Class will also be part of this festival. We’ll be bringing together our Commonwealth Class students to talk about some of the issues that the youth of the Commonwealth face. We’re looking for children and young people aged between 10 – 17 years old – from as many of the Commonwealth nations and territories as possible – to be part of the audience to discuss issues with each other and our panel of guests. Please email to let us know if your school plans to visit Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games and you’d be interested in taking part in the audience at our live event.

The World’s Biggest Assembly – Commonwealth Day

Monday 10th March is Commonwealth Day and Game On Scotland is encouraging schools and youth groups to Sport Your Trainers to show your support for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. It’s also a great opportunity to link to wider learning about the Commonwealth and our friends from the Commonwealth Class project have a great initiative which could link very neatly.

Tens of thousands of children and young people, representing hundreds of schools from over 30 countries, will take part in the World’s Biggest Assembly on 10 March. Follow the five easy steps the project has outlined to learn more about the Commonwealth and celebrate the special day.

Follow the five easy steps:
1. Choose a theme for your assembly
a) Life in a Commonwealth country
b) One or more of the Commonwealth values:
• human rights
• protecting the environment
• access to health, education, food and shelter
• gender equality
• importance of young people
• tolerance, respect and understanding
• peace and conflict resolution
• freedom of expression
• rule of law
c) Commonwealth athletes and their preparation for the 2014 Glasgow Games
2. Plan your assembly
Get your pupils involved at this stage. You can find Commonwealth Class resources and films on the British Council and BBC websites.
3. Invite guests
Contact parents, school governors, your MP, local councillor and the media.
4. Hold your assembly on Commonwealth Day, 10 March
If you have a partner school in a Commonwealth country, perhaps you could organise a joint assembly through video link.
5. Tell the organisers about it – before, during and after
a) Tell them about your plans by emailing
b) Contact organisers on the day by email or on social media (Facebook and Twitter) with photos and details of your activity. Use #CommonwealthClass in your tweet.
c) After your assembly, share photos and / or pupil reports with completed permission

UK Schools needed for Commonwealth Class Competition

Commonwealth Class are searching for fifteen UK schools to take part in a special element of the programme which will see them placed into teams with nine other schools from across the Commonwealth.

Teams will work on a series of monthly collaborative projects between January and May 2014 with prizes given for the best work each month. The project can be carried out within your school as a single class or organised across subjects or year groups. Schools must be able to commit to spending at least one lesson per week on the project. Monthly project activities will lead up to a celebration of the work at the end of May 2014. This could be an online gallery, a film, a book or a blog that will be judged and an overall winning team will be selected. Each school from the winning team will be invited to send one teacher and one student (aged 10 or above) to visit Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games in July/August 2014!

During the project each team will follow the progress of a Commonwealth athlete as they prepare to compete at Glasgow 2014. Athletes that have signed up include Olympic Triathlon gold medallist Alistair Brownlee, Team Scotland athlete Eilidh Child, the fastest man in the world Usain Bolt and the British Council’s own Susie Rodgers. Depending on the athletes’ schedule, schools will have the chance to communicate with them as they train for The Games.

Organisers are looking for the most committed and enthusiastic schools for this unique and exciting project. To apply for a place in a Commonwealth Class team you should complete the application form and return to the address noted within, by Friday 20 December. Places will be given to the schools that in 200 words best say why they want to take part in Commonwealth Class and how joining the project will benefit their school community.

If you are not selected for a team there’s still plenty of opportunities for your school to take part in Commonwealth Class. The education pack is an excellent resource to introduce your class to the Commonwealth and its values, and you can download a PDF copy by visiting British Council Schools Online. The weekly BBC debates are a great opportunity for your students to converse with their peers in real time. The debates so far have been lively discussions on themes including importance of learning languages and island living. At the next debate on Thursday 12 December they’ll be discussing the effects of sport on self-esteem and confidence. Your class can contribute to the discussion on Thursday by emailing comments to the BBC debate moderators at

Commonwealth Class is a project of the BBC, British Council and Commonwealth Secretariat.

Debating the Games

Young Scots and Sri Lankans virtually met at the new building of the British Council in Colombo to engage in discussions about the Commonwealth Games and values.

14 -17 year old pupils at St Joseph’s Academy in Kilmarnock and Stonelaw High in Rutherglen linked up with Holy Trinity College in Kandy, and Colombo schools, Vishaka Vidyalaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa College, to discuss their educational and cultural links with HRH Prince Tunku Imran, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Education Scotland, with the support from the British Council, made the live exchange possible via the unique education tool Glow. The session supported the British Council’s Commonwealth Class programme that provides resources, online BBC debates and interactive activities for schools to mark the run-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Watch gain:  If you have missed this session you can catch up on it here

The Commonwealth Class – Education Pack

The Commonwealth Class education pack is a flexible resource that can be used to support individual projects or joint curriculum work with a partner school. 

For more information about opportunities and resources around the Commonwealth Class programme visit  British Council Schools Online.

If you do not yet have a British Council Schools Online account we recommend that you register with them to gain access to other opportunities to develop the global dimension at your school including Connecting Classrooms, International School Award and Language Assistants.

The next BBC online debate will be held on Thursday 14 November to coincide with the Commonwealth Youth Forum 2013. The debate is a fantastic opportunity for your students to engage with their peers around the globe on the most vital challenges and opportunities facing young people today. You can contribute to the debate on the day by emailing comments to the BBC team at

And finally, British Council are offering grants of £250 for schools to hold mini launch events on their site for other schools in their area. Events do not have to take any predetermined format but should be 2 hours long and schools should involve at least 10 teachers representing different schools in their area. The launch should be based on the script provided in the Commonwealth Class Education Pack. If you would like to hold a launch event please download and complete the Commonwealth_Class_Launch_Grant_Application  and return to

Commonwealth Class – Debates and Competition!

Make the most of the 2014 Commonwealth Games by connecting your school to Commonwealth Class.

The BBC, the British Council and the Commonwealth Secretariat are working together to bring Commonwealth Class to schools across the world. The project is aimed at 7 – 14 year olds and provides online teaching resources and interactive activities for schools to mark the run up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Focusing on Commonwealth values and topical issues from a global perspective, Commonwealth Class will help connect young people around the world to learn together about how to be effective, responsible global citizens. Connect your classroom – sign up at


 We have launched a competition for schools to win the chance to work with a BBC crew to make a film in their community. We are searching for the best stories from around the Commonwealth which share what it means to be a global citizen and which best reflect the Commonwealth values. Further details and how to enter:


We also hold monthly online debates to provide an opportunity for young people to share their views on topics such as tolerance and respect, democracy, exam stress, making a living and gender equality. We would love your school to join us for the regular online debates. The next debates planned are as follows:

  •  Thursday 31st October – in association with Authors Live and the Scottish Book Trust, a debate inspired by storytellers from around the Commonwealth. Writers Lari Don, Peter Chand and Mara Menzies share their stories.
  • Thursday 14th November – a debate based around the Commonwealth Youth Forum 2013 in Sri Lanka.
  • Thursday 21st November – a language debate to mark International Education Week 2013.
  • Thursday 28th November – in association with Authors Live and the Scottish Book Trust, a debate related to a live event with Mairi Hedderwick, author of the Katie Morag stories.

 Previous debates have included contributions from pupils in Kenya, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa, as well as across the UK.

 It’s easy to take part in class — watch the film, discuss the issues and email your comments to us at

BBC live debate and concert: The Queen’s Baton Relay

The Debate

Watch the newly released video with the adventurer Mark Beaumont and join young people from across the Commonwealth to discuss the Queen’s Baton Relay, launched on 9 October from Buckingham Place by her Majesty the Queen. To take part simply share and discuss your ideas between now and the 11 October by emailing . The BBC will publish pupils’ opinions, allowing schools to respond and converse in real time. For more information go to

The Concert, 11 October, 11 am

On Friday 11 October join a live concert from Glasgow to mark the first stage of the Queen’s Baton at its arrival in India. A live stream will be provide through the BBC Commonwealth Class programme.

Assembly materials

Involve your school, year group, form class etc. in a stimulating debate on the most current event around the Commonwealth Games, the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay.  Video and teachers’ notes have been provided by the BBC here: