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Rochester Grammar School Builds Bridges across the Atlantic

Rochester Grammar School Builds Bridges across the Atlantic

Students at Rochester Grammar School (RGS) have built bridges across the Atlantic – teaming up with their counterparts in Rochester, Michigan, USA, for an international partnership. RGS students have embarked on an exciting creative project with students from Rochester High School and Oakland University in the US city of Rochester, as part of its bicentennial celebrations.

Students on both sides of the Atlantic worked together to publish a book of poems, short stories, and artwork, to broaden their outlook and showcase their diverse creative talents. The creative project, called Imagining Rochester, challenged them to think about life in the ‘other’ Rochester, and how it compares to their own surroundings.

A US student imagined the English town as a place of literary spark, writing, “There are dozens of different accents of tea to try, a plethora of coffee blends, and best of all, a whole wall filled with books, top to bottom! The shelf ranging from the greatest texts of C.S. Lewis to Huxley’s classic Brave New World.”

Another American student wondered “Is it possible, that there are neighbourhoods that have houses so close together…like in Harry Potter?

The project was conceived by Gwynn Bassan, Director of Secondary Education at the Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT), which sponsors RGS, and Professor Graeme Harper, the well-known fiction writer and College Dean at Oakland University. Mr Bassan and Professor Harper first began working together in 2015, when Mr Bassan was Principal at RGS, and are planning to deepen the links between their students via a range of further collaborative projects.

The partnership builds on the strong international ethos that has been cultivated at RGS, highlighted last summer when the school was presented with a prestigious International School Award by the British Council. This accolade is given to schools which do exceptional work on international education, and give students the cultural understanding and skills to thrive in today’s world.

The city of Rochester, Michigan, began its life in 1817, and is well-known for being the first settlement of Oakland County, located in the wider Detroit area.


Gwynn Bassan, Director of Secondary Education at the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, said:

“We are incredibly excited to have forged such a special bond with Oakland University and Rochester High School, giving our students great opportunities to enhance their global awareness and express their creativity.

“Imagining Rochester is a brilliant collaborative project of which all our students can be very proud – bringing together an array of captivating stories, poems, and pieces of art to imagine the lives of others.

“We are really looking forward to furthering our links with the university and school over the coming months and years, and expanding our students’ understanding of life across the Atlantic.”


Clare Brinklow, Headteacher of Rochester Grammar School, said:

“Our partnership with Rochester, USA has given students a wealth of opportunities both to learn about American culture and lifestyle, and develop their many creative talents.

“Collaborative projects such as Imagining Rochester really showcase the international outlook that we have here at Rochester Grammar School, and we were delighted to receive an International School Award from the British Council last year.

“We cannot wait to see what innovative project our students come up with next, as they continue their development as global citizens.”