Schools forge international links via IKEA

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Three Northumberland middle schools have been forging links with a Swedish school that is receiving funds from IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad.

Ingvar Kamprad, the owner of IKEA, who was born at a farm, Elmtaryd, just outside Agunnaryd, has recently donated some 56million Swedish Kroner (approximately £5.5million) to the local community and part of these funds is to be used by the Agunnaryd School to develop international links with other schools.

For those who didn’t know, IKEA’s initials stand for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd, and it was teachers from the Agunnaryd school who visited the area last month.

Middle schools in Rothbury, Wooler and Bellingham were approached by the organising teams to take part in the international programme.

The visits to the schools in Northumberland are a first step in developing these links.

Alan Winlow, vice-chairman of the Northumberland Uplands Local Action Group, said: The visitors were very impressed by all they saw at the middle school and it is hoped that links and exchanges between Agunnaryd and Dr Thomlinson’s Middle School will be developed following the meeting.

Alan added that the links were important because it involves a company which ‘virtually everyone has heard about’ and that ‘it is a marvellous example of what happens when people collaborate together for the common good; as you will find out, it is only the beginning of the story as it is going to develop over the years’.

The hope is now that the two international communities will retain the links to benefit the area for years to come.

Alan added: “Since the visit, the school has been considering the next steps for its collaboration with Dr Thomlinson’s.” He said the the teams are thinking about possibly creating outdoor learning topics as the Agunnaryd school has several days devoted to outdoor learning.