A visit from Sweden

Mr Rudholm with Mr Bartlett from the school’s Design and Technology department

Mr Rudholm with Mr Bartlett from the school’s Design and Technology department

From February 17 to February 21 Barry Comprehensive School was pleased to host a visit for our first ever Swedish visitor, Mr Bernt Rudholm, or Mr Bernt, as he came to be known by staff and students.

Bernt first heard about our school through his interest in green wood.  Bernt read an article in the British magazine: Living Woods Magazine, in 2012. In this article it outlined the work Paul Bartlett does with the Design and Technology department at Barry Comprehensive School. The way he works with the students looked very inspiring to Bernt and he wanted to find out more about it .Bernt works as a wood- and metalwork teacher and he also teaches English at Tokarpsskolan in Linköping, about 250 kilometres south of Stockholm.

During the research of finding a scholarship within the Comenius programme in the EU Bernt also found out that Barry Comprehensive has a strong track record of developing literacy with its boys. This is a very important issue in Sweden and at Bernt’s school

Since Bernt is also very interested in literacy he spent some time with Mrs K Turnbull observing literacy interventions and the volunteer reading scheme. He also sat in on a range of lessons and a discussion with our trainee teachers on the Literacy and Numeracy framework. This exchange opportunity offered a real international opportunity to discuss PISA and national issues of literacy and numeracy. By coincidence there was an article on Sweden in the Times Education Supplement the week of Bernt’s visit.

Bernt took every opportunity to find out about the education system in Wales; he also took every opportunity to take part in the school’s annual Healthy Living Week.

Bernt commented: ‘I got a warm welcome to Wales and to Barry Comprehensive. I received two guides among the students, Michael and Jarred in year 10 who took care of me among all the classrooms and corridors. Barry Comp is much bigger than my school in Sweden. A big thank you to these guys!

t was very interesting to see the issues I came for: Green wood work and literacy and I got a good insight in those fields, but also how things can be at an ‘all boys’ school.

One thing which struck me on my return was that when we, as teachers, visit another school we share in many ways the same ‘language’. We can understand each other and we have the same goals about our students’ success. This idea I would like to emphasize as an encouragement to my fellow teachers. We would very much like to see you -Barry Comp teachers –on a visit at our school in Linköping’.

We very much look forward to returning Bernt’s visit as we, too, believe there is a great deal to learn from this exchange of ideas.


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