ITALY - Priolo Gargallo

II Istituto Comprensivo Alessandro Manzoni

Our school is located in an industrial area close to Syracuse. It includes nursery, primary and middle school sections. The number of pupils is approximately 177 at nursery, 252 at primary and 186 at middle school.

After the industrial boom in the seventies and eighties, recession caused the closure of many local industries resulting in a high level of unemployment, as well as a cultural and economical decline. This situation has had an impact on our school community, we have a strong presence of pupils with social and economical problems who often risk social exclusion and a number of children with learning difficulties. Unfortunately, many pupils do not continue with secondary education after completing compulsory schooling ( up to 15 years of age). Furthermore, in the local area, the province of Syracuse and the south of Italy in general, there is an increasing number of immigrants coming from Eastern European, Asian and North African countries which has also contributed to economical difficulties. On the other hand, this presence has given the local population a greater insight into cultural, (linguistic) and economical diversity.

"Manzoni school" is located in a little urban centre called Priolo Gargallo and share one of the English teachers with Woytjla school in Siracusa. This situation led to an unavoidable comparison between the opportunities that students have in a big city and in a little town. Of course, there is a big difference both on an educational and social level, and this cannot be considered fair. Through the link of the shared teacher, the two schools decided that working in a net could bring advantages to both. Through the combined participation to this project, Manzoni school could shorten the distance and try to fill the gap between town and province, while Woytjla school could open its mind towards more sensitive ways of educational cooperation. A sort of peer work strategy combined with a tutorage work strategy.