Leadership Delegation, March 2024

"China was amazing. More than I could have imagined. Such a brilliant experience, both on a personal and professional level. I cannot thank you and the team enough."
Ella Capaldi
Head Of Park Community School

Today we will reflect on the key moments from our March 2024 Overseas School Leadership Delegation; including first-hand encounters with the Chinese education system and the transformative discussions held between global school leaders and Chinese government officials.

Day 1: Touch Down in Shanghai - Bullet Train, Confucius Temple Visit, Lantern Festival​

The delegation arrived at Shanghai Pudong Airport early on Monday, March 25th, where they were greeted by the Global School Exchanges Team. They began their journey with a high-speed train ride to Nanjing, catching their first glimpses of China’s landscape. The delegation then visited the renowned Confucius Temple and experienced Nanjing by night through a guided tour. The trip coincided with the Lantern Festival (元宵节), allowing the UK delegation to witness the festive atmosphere and visit parks decorated with elaborate lanterns and traditional dragon dances!

Day 2: “Today’s seminar is not only an exchange of knowledge and thoughts, but also a meeting to communicate with each other.” - Headteacher from Nanjing Kerui Primary School

Tuesday began with school visits across 3 locations in Nanjing, which included engaging in school tours, enjoying student performances, observing lessons and meeting with key Chinese staff to gain insight into daily school life.


In the afternoon, our UK partner schools presented their schools and local areas. The leadership highlighted a typical British curriculum, environmental initiatives like Green Careers Week, and engineering programs such as STEM and Greenpower. These presentations sparked significant interest among Chinese school leaders, who aim to adopt similar projects for their students in the coming year.


This platform strengthened recent educational partnerships formed during Chinese school visits to our UK partners earlier this year. The Headteacher of Nanjing Phoenix Garden City Primary School expressed “heartfelt thanks to Principal Fanning and all the teachers and students of Woodcroft School for their reception and meticulous care!”. Barry Fanning reciprocated the positive experience and delivered postcards from Woodcroft students to their Chinese buddies.

Day 3: Signing of 6 MOUs and Technological Advancements in Education

On Wednesday morning, the delegation continued their visits to 4 additional Chinese partner schools, where our UK teachers learnt about (and tried to play!) traditional Chinese musical instruments such as Guqin and the bass drum.

In the afternoon conference, 6 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were signed between our UK delegation and Chinese partner schools. The forum discussions centred around the intersection of education, technology, and talent, focusing on developing an effective curriculum based on the question “What skills will future generations need?”  

Nigel Sheppard, Deputy Headteacher at Horndean Technology College, shared his insights on the impact of technology in creating a ‘global village’ Nigel emphasised the importance of embracing technology for the purposes of “breaking down barriers and acknowledging differences and similarities”, to enable educational projects between UK and Chinese students.

Mr. Fanning also emphasised the importance of welcoming further exchanges to encourage British and Chinese students alike to broaden their perspectives, explore opportunities, and consider possibilities for their lives abroad.

Day 4: British Council Speeches, Networking Dinners and a Night Market!

Highlights from Thursday’s conference featured Aaron Butson, Assistant Principal for Work-Based Learning, presenting Havant and South Downs College enrichment activities, learning pathways, and commitment to ‘be more international’.

British Council speeches highlighted that the UK remains the top study abroad destination for Chinese students. Four additional MOUs were signed at the beautiful location of Shanghai Adcote School. 

The day ended with a round-table networking dinner, to enjoy delicious Peking Duck, witness a traditional Chinese dance, and pay a visit to the famous Yiwu night market for souvenir shopping.

"...thank you for your part in organising such an amazing China experience. I speak for the whole group when I say it was truly unforgettable.”
Aaron Butson
Assistant Principal for Work-Based Learning, Havant and South Downs College

Day 5: 12 MOUs signed & Final Celebrations.

The main events of the final day included the UK delegation signing 12 sister-school MOUs and enjoying lunch with local principals and officers. The teachers then unwinded with singing and celebrating on their trip back to Shanghai. 

We are delighted to highlight these transformative exchange opportunities that have enabled our UK school leadership delegation to gain new perspectives on a different curriculum and education system, compare initiatives and develop potential areas for collaboration to equip globally-minded students.


“It was great to learn more about their education system, but also to look at the opportunities that are there for us all. I certainly have some links to follow up on and I am very much looking forward to HSDC getting more involved in this work.” – Aaron Butson

Partner Schools

Further group delegations will take place Autumn 2024 and Spring 2025, and small group delegations can be organised on a year-round basis. Please email hello@school.exchange to register your interest.