TWO teachers and an education specialist from Pakistan are visiting schools in County Durham this week as part of a project to raise cultural awareness and create learning opportunities.

Organised through the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms scheme, the visit has seen the group spend time in four schools – Greenfield Community College in Newton Aycliffe, Parkside Sports College in Willington, Teesdale School in Barnard Castle and Finchale Primary School in Durham.

All three visitors come from Abbottabad – the town where Osama Bin Ladin was found and assassinated in 2011 - and it is also hoped their visit will help quash preconceptions about the Pakistan and its culture.

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Brian Stobie, international officer at Durham County Council, which is co-ordinating the trip, said: “It is about our county opening the eyes of our young people to the benefits of working in equal partnership with people from other parts of the world.”

As well as observing lessons and watching dramatic performances, plans were put in place for staff and pupils in both countries to continue working together in months ahead. And, on Friday, the Pakistani delegation will plant a special tree at Teesdale School to commemorate the visit.

Stuart Dixon, assistant headteacher at Greenfield Community College, said the visit had been a great success, adding: “We now plan for pupils in both schools to read the same novel and will hold discussion sessions about the plot and characters online using Skype and Facebook.”