Mar 072017

Since 2007, Yester Primary has initiated a large number of International Education projects via the eTwinning platform. Over the next few weeks, this page will be developed to show the range of small and large scale projects we have either led or taken part in, as well as demonstrating how International Education is an integral part of Curriculum for Excellence, and how it can help our pupils develop a range of skills from across the curriculum, helping them to become outward looking citizens as they grow. In addition, many of the projects are great fun, as the children themselves will always tell you when asked about them!

Projects in 2016 – 2017

Over the course of the current year, Yester Primary has undertaken the following projects:

Schoolovision 2017:

Yester Primary has won a number of national and international awards since 2009 for their eTwinning project “Schoolovision” which is a primary schools’ version of the Eurovision Song Contest, invented and administered from right here in Gifford by Mr Purves. The project is now into its 9th year, making it officially the longest running, and biggest eTwinning project of all time, since eTwinning was launched in 2005. It has also won more awards across Europe than any other eTwinning project – and there have been more than 50,000 eTwinning projects!
This year 37 countries are taking part, and we will be singing the Fischy Music children’s song “You Are a Star”, the video of which will appear here in April!

Meanwhile, have a look at the video below, which shows some of the entries in the 1st five years of the project.

After leading the project for the first 6 years, Yester stood down in 2015 and 2016, but below are our entries stretching back to 2010.

In 2014, we used a solo singer along with the rest of the class playing guitars as we entered the Scottish song “Ca’ The Yowes.” The song finished 14th out of 30 countries.

In 2013, we performed the operatic song Let’s Go To The Opera, and were allowed inside Yester House to film the song! The song finished 14th out of 38 countries.

In 2012, The Proclaimers kindly gave us permission to sing their classic song I’m Gonna Be… 500 miles. Our video included help from the local minister and members of staff in Gifford Co-op! We achieved one of our highest placings, finishing 4th out of 38 countries!

We sang the Scots song Killiecrankie in 2011.The song finished 20th= out of 28 countries.

Way back in 2010, we performed the all-action Until The End! This great entry catapulted us into 3rd position out of 34 countries, our best ever result so far!

2009 was the first year of the competition, and our entry, Auld Lang Syne managed 13th place out of 30 participating countries. Although the video was not uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo, our post and the Blogger video can still be viewed here.

The European Chain Reaction 2017:

This science based project is also one of eTwinning’s longest running projects, having been set up jointly by Belgian teacher Dave Schrauwen and Mr Purves in 2011. It has also won a number of international awards over the years! Have a look at our 2017 entry below:

We were really delighted with our highest ever placing of 4th out of 23 participating countries in 2017!

Silent Night Project:

A very short, but rich collaboration between P4 and Dave Schrauwen’s class in Belgium, and the German Schoolovision partner Steffen Toppler’s class, where all three sets of pupils learned a little about the fact that 102 years ago at Christmas in WW1, soldiers from all sides laid down their weapons and sang Silent Night to each other in the trenches. As part of this, the three classes sang Silent Night, as well as some Christmas songs to each other via webcam, in order to promote peace across the world. You can watch the recording of the webcam conference here.

Yester – Aubigny P6 Link Project:

With help from Haddington Twinning Association, we set up an eTwinning link between our P6 class and the primary school in Haddington’s twin town of Aubigny-sur-Nère. There are strong links between the two towns, and it’s great to see there is now a school link established too.
As well as learning basic French, the P6s have written introductions, written about the school and the village and shared pictures of our school dinners. We have received the same information back from our friends in France. We hope to carry out a webcam conference before the summer, where both sets of pupils will ask questions and receive answers, each class using the other’s language!
As we are using the eTwinning website to store the work the two classes are doing, the majority is securely hidden. However, some photos are below!

Part of our 1+2 language work involved creating this Scottish -French link!

P6 made and sent Christmas cards to our friends in Aubigny!

We got cards back from Aubigny!

More of the cards we got back from Aubigny!

Projects in 2015 – 2016

A Scottish – Icelandic co-operation:

Following a visit to Yester by some Icelandic teachers who were spending a week touring schools in the Edinburgh area, P3-4 set up an eTwinning project between Yester and Thelamork school in the north of Iceland, close to Akureyri.

Both classes shared lots of information on the private and secure eTwinning Twinspace, and we enjoyed getting to know what it’s like to  go to school in Iceland. The project culminated in a super webcam conference at the end of the school year where we asked each other lots of interesting questions!

The project received a special Quality Label award at the annual UK eTwinning Conference in Nottingham in June 2016, and additionally each pupil received a special certificate like this!

Asking questions to our Icelandic friends.

It’s our turn to answer a question.

We were very jealous to see skiing as a P.E. lesson!

It was very interesting to see sewing taught as a primary school subject!

The European Chain Reaction 2016:

We took part once again in this great science project and were very happy to finish in 12th position out of 32 participating countries! This project is also one of eTwinning’s longest running projects, having been set up jointly by Belgian teacher Dave Schrauwen and Mr Purves in 2011. It has also won a number of international awards over the years! Have a look at our 2016 entry below:

Projects in 2014 – 2015

The European Chain Reaction 2015:

Despite being one of the youngest classes to take part in this award winning Europe wide contest, we did well enough to place ourselves 13th out of 32 participating countries!This science based project has been running for several years and has featured since 2010 in our curriculum. Watch our 2015 entry below:

In addition to the ECR project above P3/4 were all sent special 10th anniversary eTwinning t-shirts, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the start of eTwinning. Don’t they look happy!

eTwinning is fun!

Projects in 2013 – 2014


Schoolovision 2014:

This was the 6th year of the Europe wide project, with Yester deciding to enter an old Scots song, “Ca’ the Yowes.” For this entry, we decided to go with one of the girls singing the whole song solo, with the rest of the class spending a few weeks learning guitar in music, allowing them to support throughout. Thirty countries entered the competition and the winners were the Czech Republic, for the 3rd time, with a quite brilliant and thoroughly professional video (see below) accompanying their super catchy song.

Our entry finished 14th out of the 30 entries!

The European Chain Reaction 2014:

In 2014, our P5 class had great fun filming their introductory human chain reaction, as well as their technical chain reaction. Both are below, with the technical chain reaction finishing in 6th place out of 30 countries.

Projects in 2012 – 2013

Schoolovision 2013:

For our 2013 entry, you had to imagine it was the year 1865. Two young boys decided to take a trip to the opera. It was a long show – more than 4 hours – but they enjoedy it, more than some of the audience! But, the star of the show was the “fat lady” who gave a great performance at the end.
We’d like to thank MusicLine Publications for allowing the use of the song. We were delighted to be able to film inside Yester House and this helped us achieve a position of 14th out of 38 countries who entered in 2013!

In addition, Schoolovision and the pupils from Yester were featured on the Eurovision Song Contest’s own website’s homepage in the run up to the climax of the real ESC contest!
Winners in 2013 were debutants Israel, who produced this wonderful song about Israel’s only astronaut, Ilan Ramon, who died in one of the Space Shuttle disasters.

Also in March 2013, Mr Purves was invited to Lisbon, Portugal, to receive a special certificate and award for Schoolovision’s “Outstanding Contribution to eTwinning Collaboration” over the period 2009 – 2013, marking the project’s 5th anniversary.

Mr Purves receives Schoolovision’s special certificate at the eTwinning European Conference, Lisbon, March 2013, accompanied by French partner Katja Auffret and German partner Steffen Toppler.

The European Chain Reaction 2013:

Once again, our young scientists worked hard to create a good quality chain reaction for this Europe wide contest. We finished 10th out of 29 countries.

Projects in 2011 – 2012

Schoolovision 2012:

Hopes were raised early in the school year when The Proclaimers not only gave permission for us to sing their classic hit “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)” but they also happily supplied us with the backing track to the song. This was the start of a fun-filled journey that saw the pupils involved travel to the same studio where many of The Proclaimers’ songs were mixed and recorded in Pencaitland to record our track, which was then filmed with the pupils marching around various parts of Gifford itself, including the Co-op, where staff members joined in and the church where the local minister also happily participated in the fun. By the time of the vote, it’s fair to say the pupils themselves were highly expectant, and their hopes were rewarded when the Scottish entry achieved a superb result of 4th place out of 38 countries from right across Europe in 2012.

The winning entry in 2012 was a truly beautiful song made by our Norwegian partners, named “Honesty is the Best Policy” viewable below.

The European Chain Reaction 2012:

Our entry to this science based competition was, we felt, a good one in 2012. However, it didn’t quite reach the heights we had hoped for, and it was voted into 12th place out of 19 participating countries.

Link with Kuvansi school, Finland:

In September 2011, we welcomed back our Finnish friends from Kuvansi school, close to Varkaus. Our P7 class had visited them in February and had enjoyed a memorable few days experiencing Finnish hospitality and various adventures in the deeply frozen north of Europe. So the challenge was clear that we had to ensure our visitors enjoyed their trip to Scotland. They stayed at Innerwick Outdoor Centre and during their few days here they visited Yester, saw all the classes, attended assembly, played indoor hockey and met pupils and teachers. Additionally, they spent a day in Edinburgh, learned how to golf and play bowls and even tried their hand at surfing down at Belhaven! One evening had also seen the Finns visit a ceilidh at Garvald village hall. The week was completed with a meal in The Rocks restaurant in Dunbar with all the children who had been in P7 but who were now in S1. It should be noted that all of these activities, as with the trip to Finland earlier in the year had been achieved with no external funding from the British Council who administer eTwinning. We had fundraised through various methods and we were also very appreciative of some local companies who helped us out. Teacher Jyrki Ikonen from Varkaus reported that his pupils had had a fantastic time here in Scotland and he thanked us very warmly for our hospitality.

Our Finnish guests by Yester Church.

Dinner for Scottish and Finnish penpals at The Rocks in Dunbar.

The few days of activities are all caught on video below:

Projects in 2010 – 2011

Schoolovision 2011:

For the 3rd edition of Schoolovision, we sang the old Scots song Killiecrankie which managed 20th= position out of 28 participating countries.

The 2011 winners were our friends from Brno in the Czech Republic, who triumphed with their lovely entry Jaro.

Trip to Kuvansi, Finland, February 2011:

In February 2011, after collaborating together with Kuvansi school in eastern Finland for nearly 5 years, P7 travelled to the nearby town of Varkaus where we stayed in lovely accommodation for a few days, allowing the class to finally meet up with their pen-pals and peers, see the school at Kuvansi, and take part in a range of activities that for the majority of the class were quite alien to them compared to what they were used to here in Scotland! These included ice skating and cross-country skiing in -30C, visiting the northern most and oldest medieval castle in Scandinavia, playing an international game of football on a snow-covered pitch in -25C, causing eyelashes to freeze up, taking a sauna and then rolling in the snow outside, and spending a day on a frozen lake where we sledged and took rides on snowmobiles! In addition, the class spent time in three different schools, confidently gave presentations about Scotland to their Finnish friends and kept diaries of their time away.

In order to make this unique exchange happen, the class had been involved in various fundraising activities for months before, including many of them completing a sponsored cycle over the Lammermuir Hills as well as all spending a day bag-packing at a local supermarket. We were also very grateful to several local businesses who gave generously to help fund the cost of the trip.
You can read about the trip in detail, see many more photos and also see the return trip made by our Finnish friends to Scotland in September 2011 by clicking on this link.
The video and photos below show just how much fun was had by all.

Ice skating at Kuvansi school.

On the ice rink.

At Olavinlinna Castle in Savonlinna.

The snow was around 80cm deep!

On the frozen lake, we measured the ice to be 67cm thick!

The whole class at our accommodation, with Finnish teacher Jyrki, before we left to return home.

In addition to our P7 visit to Finland, the class kept in contact throughout the year by webcam conference, both before and after the visit. This allowed them to get to know their friends a bit better before we actually arrived in Finland, and afterwards it allowed friendships to develop further still. It’s quite wonderful to look back at these now and to see how well the pupils from both classes interacted.
You can watch one of the many recorded webcam conferences here. This meeting was actually observed in our class by an inspector from the Scottish government, who interviewed some of the class afterwards about their work with the school in Finland and their trip there. He also asked them about their work completing the project below, the European Chain Reaction, and told us afterwards that in 4 years looking at International Education work around Scotland, the work done by Yester was among the very best he had seen anywhere! So, well done to the P7s and all the other classes who had participated in other I.E. work!

The European Chain Reaction:

Following on from the creation of the Schoolovision project in early 2009, The European Chain Reaction project was founded in late 2010 after discussion between Mr Purves and Belgian Schoolovision partner Dave Schrauwen. Dave became the leading partner of this science based project with support and advice from Mr Purves, and the project quickly established itself on the annual calendar of many schools across Europe. Initially, the project drew on a number of the partners from Schoolovision, who all keenly turned their attention to science as they created a wide variety of brilliant chain reactions. Writing this in early 2017, the project is still going strong, with partners from more than 20 countries. It’s also worth noting that both Dave, along with the German partner Steffen Toppler still collaborate closely in various projects with Yester even now in 2017!
Below is the Scottish entry which finished 5th in the contest.

Projects in 2009 – 2010

 Schoolovision 2010

Following the huge success of the project in 2009 and having won a number of international prizes, it was clear we had to try hard to better our entry for the second edition of Schoolovision. Luckily, the school had recently performed the play King Loth, and our music teacher Miss Traill had the great idea of using one of the songs from the show. After having gained permission to do so, we also obtained the services of a local cameraman and we were ready to go, with the children all dressing up in special costumes for the performance video. We were delighted and excited to see the song perform very well in the overall standings, finishing a brilliant 3rd out of 34 countries who took part. At the time of writing in 2017, that remains our best performance ever!

The winning song in 2010 was this great entry below from Iceland:

Vous avez bien mangé et bien chanter maintenant!

In early 2010, French film-maker and eTwining Ambassador Pascal Fancea asked Mr Purves if his class would like to participate in a small scale eTwinning project with a class from close to Grenoble in France and a class from Latvia. The aim of the project was for the three classes to create a three course European meal, as well as to learn a song in one of the other two languages. It was arranged that the classes would meet via webcam conference to sing their songs to each other and share their meals. In addition, the project was filmed from start to finish in all three countries and later made into a short film to promote eTwinning across France. The duration of the project was only around 10 days, but it was great fun and the high quality finished films, both full version and shorter 8 minute version are below.

Full 25 minute version.

Condensed 8 minute version.