In 1995 – the early days of the World Wide Web – David Watts of Colchester Sixth Form College and Malcolm Moss of St Benedict’s College Colchester crossed the Channel with the aim of establishing links with educational institutions in as wide a range of states as possible. They hoped to exploit the potential of the new communication technology. A tool to support learning which ignored geographical borders.
A nucleus of schools quickly built up in the Netherlands, France, Belgium Sweden Germany and Italy. The first project was called “Eurojournal”.
Over the years the partnership has evolved, schools left and joined and the name was changed into EuroLink. Yet; one of the founder member schools remains an energetic driving force – Sophianum.
VIIth Form Colchester’s role was an important factor in them being granted the Queen’s Award for Excellence in Further and Higher Education. Representatives attended a banquet in the Guildhall London followed the next day with conferment by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. In 2008 the partners decided on a radical review of their partnership.
The early aspirations were being overtaken by the possibilities that rapidly developing new technologies offered. How we had educated young people in the past was being challenged. Students now had the tools to research and create new knowledge themselves.
The partnership wanted their approach to encompass that and to commit to a longer term association. Malcolm Moss was invited to return as a ‘critical friend’ to support a new vision. The concept of a virtual school was established, funded by Comenius in two year stages.
Eurolink Virtual International School (ELvis) was born.
Over the years the partners have applied for a series of EU funded projects like Comenius and later Erasmus+ KA1 and KA2 and KA229. More information on these projects can be found using the menu tabs above.
In 2019 The first school from outside Europe, Benchamarachuthit School from Chanthaburi Thailand, joined the partnership.
In 2014 Sophianum a colleague at Sophianum asked us to host a delegation of a Thai school at school. The school band ‘Benjama Band’ was present at the World Music Contest in Kerkrade, 10 km away from us. The colleague had accompanied the band on a few occasions before and had stuck up a friendship with some people. It was the first week of the summer holiday so we did host them, but there were no students present. Four years later, when they were in Kerkrade again, the same request came. Again, it was the school holiday, so we asked if we could organise something that involved the students, instead of a delegation of teachers.
It was decided that an exchange would be the best thing to do to start a closer relationship. We exchanged messages about a possible membership of the EL partnership and ELvis and a memorandum of understanding was drawn up on both sides. We started work on that and in November 2019 the first group from Sophianum went to Chanthaburi. On one of the days at school in Thailand we signed the memorandum and Benchamarachuthit school became a member of our partnership.
We hope that more schools from outside Europe will follow.
2020 was the 25th anniversary of our cooperation 2023 will see the 15th anniversary of the ELvis partnership. There will be a conference at Sophianum to mark this and make plans for the next 5 years.
[Adapted from an earlier history of Eurolink by Harry Carlo of Colchester Sixth Form College]
It was tougher in the old’ days!
In the first joint meeting in Aachen we trialled video conferencing. The kit was loaned by British Telecom and consisted of two very large, heavy suitcases. It took two hours to set up and had a data rate measured in Kilobits.
- June 2014 at WGE in Enger & at the church in Lübbecke
- September 2014 at Sophianum Gulpen
- February 2016 at KSF Freigericht
- March 2018 at WGE Enger
- December 2018 at CDG Lecce
- March 2022 at KSF Freigericht