Lasswade High School, Shanghai, and Lord Mcconnell of Glenscorradale

18 January 2016

Shanghi-300wColin Mitchell, Depute Headteacher of Lasswade High School in Midlothian, wrote recently to The Rt. Hon Lord McConnell of Glenscorradale, the former First Minister Jack McConnell:

I am sure that you remember visiting Shanghai with Kenneth Thomson (our headteacher at the time.) My wife Rosemary and I have just returned from our 7th visit to the school and I just wanted to let you know where are with our work with China.

From 2004-2008, staff and students from the schools emailed and exchanged work. In 2008, Rosemary and I visited the school and with the new headteacher Gao Bo, planned for an exchange of students. In 2009 Gao Bo visited Lasswade and the in 2010 we travelled to Shanghai where the students stayed with familes. We have repeated trips in 2012 and 2014 with staff and students visiting in 2011, 2013, 2015. A total of 19 teachers from Tianlin have visited us.

In 2014 in partnership with the Royal Zooilogical Society of Scotland , and funding from Jaguar-Land Rover China, we were also able to visit a mountain school in Sichaun Province. The visit has been used by Education Scotland as a Case Study

In 2015 we were awarded the status of a Confucius Hub for Midlothian. We were very fortunate that headteachers from Shanghai and Tianjin were able to attend. Students from Shanghai sang at the opening, a very unique event! We continue to work with CISS and SCEN and are looking forward to the 4th SCEN youth summit at the end of November. Lord Wilson of Tillyorn is a great supporter of SCEN.

We now have two teachers teaching mandarin at Lasswade and this year presented students for the first time. This is a brief snapshot of the work that has evolved since your visit in 2004. If you find the time, in what I would imagine is a very busy schedule, you will always receive a warm welcome at Lasswade.

Our former First Minister replied:

.... thank you so much for that update on the incredible relationship between Lasswade High School and your counterparts in China. I remember very clearly the visit to Shanghai and how impressive the developing education and relationships were at that time. From all that you outline in your email, it appears that that relationship has become stronger and stronger, and I would be grateful if you could pass on my congratulations to everybody for the award of a Confucius Hub in 2015. The students from Shanghai singingAuld Lang Synein Mandarin Chinese is one of my most treasured memories of my time as First Minister, so I am sure their performance at the opening ceremony will have been memorable.

Jack McConnell
Rt Hon Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale