A Sheffield school will be the model for a new development heart of Chinese sister city Chengdu's hi-tech zone.
Bond Bryan, the firm that designed Oasis Academy Don Valley, in Attercliffe's Olympic Legacy Park, has won a contract with the Chengdu government to build the 10,80-place primary school and kindergarten as part of Sheffield Council's ongoing partnership with the city.
Oasis and Chengdu will work together in a sister school arrangement, sharing expertise and adding new ideas to each others' curriculums.
The new school will be the first English language state school in China and will be based in Chengdu’s hi-tech industrial development zone, home to more than 33,000 companies including Intel, Motorola, Maersk, IBM, Dell and Siemens.
Details about how the partnership will work are as yet scarce, but more is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.
Oasis Don Valley is one of three Sheffield schools run by the Oasis Academy Trust, alongside Fir Valley and Watermead.
Regional director for Oasis North Philip Beaumont called the partnership 'ground-breaking'.
He said: “We are very proud of our school building and are honoured that Chengdu is interested in using our school as a model for the Sheffield School in Chengdu.
"The location of our school in the Olympic Legacy Park, with close links to the Innovation District, and the Sheffield School location in Chengdu’s high-tech zone, will create great opportunity to foster creativity, innovation and enterprise in both cities.
“This partnership will bring opportunities to increase aspirations and achievement among not only our pupils and educators, but for the whole the city.
"We envision that this educational partnership will bring huge benefits to our city through education, culture-exchange and innovation between Sheffield and Chengdu and we are looking forward to working with Sheffield City Council and being a leading figure as we advance our partnership with Chengdu.”
The contract to develop the school allows Bond Bryan to expand into a new market.
Director Geoff Halliwell said: “This is a really interesting opportunity for us, a new 1,080 place primary school with a further 270-place kindergarten that builds on the relationship between Sheffield and Chengdu.
"We have already visited, engaged with the local stakeholders and are really excited about the educational impact the project can make and bringing something delightful and of Sheffield to their city.
“We are looking forward to exploring our initial ideas further and using all of our knowledge and expertise in the way we think, work and design to make certain the project is a success.”
Sheffield's links with China are growing month by month. The council signed a 60-year investment deal with Sichuan Guodong Construction Group earlier this year, and the first major projects - a residential development in West Bar and a potential five star hotel in the Central Library building - were announced last month.
Council leader Julie Dore said: "This is a brilliant opportunity to establish a school with strong Sheffield connections in Chengdu and further build upon our excellent partnership work.
"This is a great opportunity for young people in Sheffield to develop skills that will make them competitive in the international job market.”
And cabinet member for children, young people and families Jackie Drayton added: “We are excited to be working in partnership with Oasis Academy Trust to enhance the educational co-operation and collaboration between Sheffield and Chengdu.
“Cultural partnership and engagement with Chengdu already provides additional learning experiences and opportunities and we look forward to building on Sheffield’s reputation as a city of educational excellence with this new school partnership.”
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