Sutton primary school Cheam Park Farm Academy have received a letter from their Chinese sister school, sending them good wishes in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Principal Zhou, headteacher of Hangzhou Xiaohe Elementary School in China, wrote to Cheam Park in response to a letter from their sister school during the peak the outbreak in China. The letter reminded their fellow students of their partnership, and that all of China’s schools were in their thoughts at this difficult time.

Since then, China has overcome its battle with the virus, with Hangzhou having had no new cases for 15 consecutive days.

Now, with the global spotlight on Europe and the UK, Hangzhou Xiaohe Elementary has written to Cheam Park Academy, returning their meaningful well wishes and support.

“Upon received your letter, we felt very warm. Thank you for your concern and condolences. We truly feel the friendship from our sister school,” the letter read.

“Now the epidemic situation of coronavirus pneumonia in China has been effectively controlled. There have been no more new cases in Hangzhou for 15 consecutive days. Our teachers and students are safe and sound. Hangzhou is a low-risk area, production resuming in an orderly manner.

“It is expected that in a short period of time, we can go back to normal life.”

Principal Zhou then went on to address the current situation in the UK, which has recently seen schools close and the general public advised to work from home and engage in social distancing.

He said: “Considering the same situation in UK, I may share what we’ve done during this period. We have actively adopted scientific and effective prevention and control measures. We have organised teachers and children to carry out online teaching.

“We also suggest them to do exercise at home, pay attention to psychological stuff, and prevent myopia etc.”

Cheam Park Farm is one of several schools to have received a letter from China, along with schools on the Wirral and in Surrey and Derbyshire.

Sharing meaningful sister school partnerships

Cheam Park Farm Academy has shared a sister school partnership with Hangzhou Xiaohe Elementary since 2018.

In July 2019, Cheam Park Farm was one of several Leo Academy Trust Schools that hosted over 100 students as part of the partnership programme. This followed a rewarding leadership delegation to China, where teachers and leaders across the schools developed their sister school relationships and engaged in valuable pedagogical exchanges.

Soon later, Leo Academy Trust launched its Mandarin Language programme for students across the trust to enjoy weekly Mandarin lessons. Leo schools have received strong praise from Ofsted for their strong commitment to ensure disadvantaged pupils take part in things they’d otherwise not experience. The offering of Mandarin language and Sister School Partnerships with schools in Hangzhou has been recognised as a vital part of this achievement.

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