Rhigos Primary Headteacher, Sarah Curran has been appointed by an international school in Ho Chi Minh City to be a leader of its Early Years Department – and will connect children in Wales and Vietnam as a result.

Sarah has been the Headteacher of the small village primary school in Rhigos, Rhondda Cynon Taff for five years. She will swap the 70 children school with its 3 teachers, for the British International School of Vietnam which has 150 teachers and 1,800 students. Sarah’s move will help Rhigos Primary School expand on the successful international links it has already forged.

For the past 3 years, Year 6 children from Rhigos Primary have travelled to Maristes Lleida, an international school in Spain to experience school life in another country. Children from the Spanish school have also visited Rhigos each year. “The experience has been amazing for everyone,” says Sarah. “For the children, language isn’t a barrier; they work out their own sign language, sing together, play football, it gives them an incredible international experience. It’s brought the whole community together too; fundraising for the trips, and welcoming the children into our community. Everyone comes out when the Spanish children visit.”

Sarah is hoping that her move to Vietnam will help to expand on the international experiences for the children of Rhigos, not only for those in the primary school but also for her six year old daughter’s school. “Casi, my daughter is going to create her own blog and will be sharing this with her old classmates in Wales,” says Sarah. “And when we come home for the holidays next July (international schools break up earlier than the UK), Casi is going to share her Vietnam experiences with the children here.”

Sarah will be moving to Ho Chi Minh City with Casi and her university lecturer husband who will be pursuing a PhD in Lego serious play. “The news hasn’t sunk in yet but we’re all incredibly excited,” says Sarah, two days after being offered the job. “BIS Vietnam is a growing school, rated outstanding and will have a new campus for Early Years which I’ll be developing. It’s my dream job!”

The British International School Vietnam, which follows the National Curriculum of England, is one of 7,500 international schools located around the world, all teaching in the language of English and many delivering a UK curriculum. Sarah already has a friend teaching in an international school in Abu Dhabi. “She gave me the confidence to do it, especially moving with a child,” explains Sarah. “It was helpful to have her reassurance that it would be a great move for all of us.” Sarah also had assistance from Penarth-based Teachers International Consultancy which is one of the leading companies in the world for international teacher recruitment and support. “Sarah is a fantastic example of the right type of person international schools are looking for,” says Andrew Wigford, Managing Director of Teacher International Consultancy. “Not only do they want people with UK teaching qualifications and experience, they also want those who are adaptable, enthusiastic and willing to face new challenges.”

Rhigos students with Sarah Curran on a school trip this week - April 2015