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A real innovation… Honley High school and the Learning CIC (a local ‘not for profit’ company) worked hard on a new and exciting cultural exchange with students from all over China. The aim of the programme was to develop a real partnership between Chinese and British young people to allow both groups to find out about each other’s cultures and lifestyles.

Honley families provided a safe, warm and caring Homestay experience for the Chinese students which gave them a real insight into the British way of life. The programme was focussed on drama and creative arts and included trips to London, Parliament, The Globe Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon and the Universities of Huddersfield and Manchester.

Cummins Engineering kindly provided a highly successful and informative workshop on teamwork and collaboration.

See what the students got up to during the programme…

Read a day-by-day summary of their activities…

Monday 13th July – Arrival

Welcome to Manchester – Typhoon Chan-hom delayed flights from Shanghai and disrupted subsequent connections for the Chinese students. Their journey overall took over 50 hours!

The students came in relieved to be in the UK and very, very tired!
The Yorkshire white rose of welcome greeted every Chinese student.
Students received a warm welcome from their Homestay families

Tuesday 14th

Hard work on the Romeo and Juliet production under the careful direction of Mr Cotgrave.
shakespeare-classes Students preparing for a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Dell in Stratford on Saturday 18th …so 4 days to put together a performance of a high enough standard for a Royal Shakespeare Company venue… not much to ask!

Wednesday 15th – Family Fun day

Families came to Honley High to play games and have fun together. There were a couple of Birthdays to celebrate too…


Thursday 16th & Friday 17th AM

Rigorous practice at school for the performance at the Dell. Students learnt all their parts so there were no scripts used on the day. They studied performance, stage presence, organisation and they got to know each other and laugh together.

Friday 17th PM

One of the best RSC productions of Othello …a performance which made the story engaging, the language clear and brought the competing passions of the main characters to life!

Overnight at the Holiday Inn

Saturday 18th – PERFORMANCE Day

The performance at the Dell was at one of the RSC’s outdoor venues and it had been publicised in the RSC programme. The Prologue was performed in English on stage and in Chinese by students within the audience.


The performance was very well received. One couple was so impressed, they made a £10 contribution to the group’s trip!

Sunday 19th

Sleeeeeepy time. Students recovered from their highly professional performance.

Monday 20th – London

A big Thank You to Jason McCartney MP for Honley and to Florence Masser for the care they took to provide a tour of the Houses of Commons and a 1 hour Q&A session with the students. The quality of the questions asked by all the students was impressive!


The trip also included a visit and workshop at the Globe Theatre …a day full of fun and learning.

Tuesday 21st

A rest morning… followed by a really interesting workshop provided by Cummings Engineering. Students were divided into groups and one group had a timed, construction task whilst the other had a production line activity to manage. The need to collaborate and for good communication skills became clear as the task progressed!

A Fish and Chip Supper and certificates to say Goodbye…


Major Thanks to Olivia Zhang, the chaperone on the programme. She was key to creating the atmosphere high in challenge and low is stress…with so much caring!

Wednesday 22nd – Visit to Huddersfield University

Given the time lost by the flight delays, the programme was extended by 2 days. Many thanks are due to Huddersfield University who offered us a visit which included an introduction to the University and a tour of its’ impressive campus.


Thursday 23rd – Departure Day and Visit to Manchester University

Many thanks are due to Professor Glendinning who organised a visit to the Maths Department at Manchester University. Students took part in a carousel of Maths activities which they thoroughly enjoyed. This was followed by a tour of the University buildings with information available on some of the ground breaking projects and programmes which take place there.


Then it was farewell to our students. This has been a groundbreaking experience. By common consent, highly successful and one which should be repeated!


The Learning CIC has been working this programme with Enreach Education in China for 18 months. It became real and achievable with in involvement of Honley High School with their considerable traditions with Drama and their connections with the Royal Shakespeare Company. It would not have been possible though without he Homestay provision which Honley families provided.

So what next?

We would love to see something similar next year; perhaps bigger? Perhaps with more families involved? Perhaps with involvement from a University?

The programme could develop into a range of opportunities which allow young people to sample the best and most interesting aspects of each other’s culture.

The Learning CIC sees this as a contribution, to the development of links with China. It could be the start of many to come…