Students from DPS school performing at the Commonwealth Connections final

Commonwealth Connections is a joint project from the British Council and the Birmingham Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, twinning 60 schools in the West Midlands with counterparts from the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The British Council is delivering the project in partnership with the Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP) and the Youth Sport Trust (YST).

Using sport, art, and citizenship connections the project provides educational opportunities for young people (and their teachers) in schools across the Commonwealth to learn together and develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Commonwealth and its values, thus allowing young people to feel more ownership and ability to shape their communities.

The project used school twinning as an approach that enables peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge and experience. This enabled the schools to collaborate for shared learning and mutual enrichment.


What is the Commonwealth Connections project?

The Commonwealth Connections project provides educational opportunities for young people (and their teachers) in schools across the Commonwealth to learn together and develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Commonwealth and its values, thus allowing young people to feel more ownership and ability to shape their communities. 

This project is co-funded by the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and the British Council with multiple delivery partners (Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP), Youth Sport Trust (YST) and Birmingham Art School).

The project has twinned 60 schools in Birmingham and the West Midlands with 60 schools across Commonwealth countries. In India, there are 6 schools from Delhi NCR region twinned with 6 schools in Hillstone, Birmingham, Caversham, England, UK. The British Council supported the participating schools to sustain their partnerships throughout and beyond the life of the project, through the Connecting Classrooms programme or similar initiatives.

Delivery phase: Sept 2021 – Jul 2022

Project aims and objectives

  • Young people are able to draw upon knowledge and ideas to understand and examine relevant global issues affecting different places and at different scales from a range of different points of view.
  • Participants are able to engage in positive, constructive dialogue with people from different backgrounds and places by understanding and recognising other cultural values and beliefs to help develop their global citizenship skills.
  • Young people collaborate and communicate effectively with those from a range of different backgrounds and understand the perspective of others.
  • Young people are encouraged to have a say in how they would like the programme to be shaped, enabling more youth voices in the process of planning and delivery.
  • A strong sense of local culture and identity are encouraged, and an interest in learning and broadening horizons with a value for fairness and mutuality.
  • Young people learn alongside and from each other will be engaged in the project focussing their attention and excitement on the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. They will do that by the use of sports, arts and culture to learn about each other’s country

Project activities

As part of the project, the British Council facilitated multidimensional cultural exchanges between India-UK cluster schools. Here are some highlights of the activities:

  • Cluster Dialogue and Classroom Connect: The schools engaged in cluster dialogues and connected their classrooms to foster cultural understanding and exchange.
  • Food Challenges and Cultural Exchanges: Students participated in food challenges, where they shared traditional dishes from their respective cultures. They also took part in cultural exchanges to explore and appreciate each other's traditions.
  • Sports, Yoga, and Leadership Training: The project included sports activities, yoga sessions, and leadership training, which helped students develop important skills while promoting the values and themes of the Commonwealth.
  • Queens Baton Relay Activity: Indian school students actively participated in the Queens Baton Relay activity. They wrote letters to the Commonwealth and created batons using recycled materials, showcasing their creativity and involvement.
  • CPD Opportunity and Musical Theatre Production: Teachers and students had the opportunity to enhance their professional development through a workshop on the Broadway musical concept. The exchange successfully blended British musical theatre with Indian Bollywood dances, creating a unique cultural experience. 
  • Cross-Cultural Learning: The project allowed students to explore varied cultures and beliefs, fostering cross-cultural understanding and communication. They learned how to interact with individuals from different backgrounds and perspectives through a range of sporting and artistic activities.
  • As a project finale performance, UK schools hosted a Dance Festival and Mela. Indian cluster schools shared a video showcasing their project journey and the British Musical Theatre performance (WICKED), which they learned under the guidance of the UK theatre artist. This event marked the completion of the circle of exchange. It was live-streamed on the British Council YouTube channel, and you can watch it at

Project participants

Schools in UK and their partner schools in Commonwealth countries worked together on arts, sports, and citizenship projects. In India, 6 schools from Delhi NCR region were twinned with 6 schools in the UK.

School Name Partner School                                                      
India Lead School - Bal Bharti Public School, Dwarka  UK Lead School - Hillstone Primary School, Shard End
Ahlcon Public School, Mayur Vihar St Anne’s Catholic Primary School, Caversham

Delhi Public School, Gurgaon

Sladefield Infant School, Birmingham
Indirapuram Public School, Indirapuram Tile Cross Secondary, Birmingham
Red Roses Public School, Gurgaon Smith’s Wood Secondary, Birmingham
Salwan Public School, Rajendra Nagar John Henry Newman Secondary, Birmingham

Project result and outcome

  1. 1200 young people were empowered and equipped with skills to create a lasting impact on their community. They gained valuable experience in developing and leading a sports program centered around Birmingham 2022 and their twinned Commonwealth nation at their respective schools.

  2. The program had a positive influence on the education and employment opportunities for young participants. It opened doors to new possibilities and pathways for their future.

  3. The project made a tangible difference in the lives of individuals, shaping their perspectives, actions, and global citizenship. Participants developed a greater sense of empathy towards others and exhibited a transformed outlook.

  4. The young people involved in the program gained an understanding of how sports and physical activity played a crucial role in their personal growth and development. They recognized the impact it had on their own lives and how it could positively affect others as well.