In November 2006 Newick House School were successful in bidding for a place in the British Council Connecting Classrooms link with schools in Uganda and South Africa. There were three schools involved in the UK cluster, Manor Green Special School, Sackville Community School and ourselves. We were linked with three schools in Uganda; Mbale Sec. School, Musese Sec. School and St.Josephs Primary School (Gangama Special Needs), and three schools in South Africa; Mmamethlake Sec. School, Mabothe Sec. School and Moepi Sec. School. Following a cluster meeting with the African schools it was decided that our Partnership name should be UNITY. The partnership was to last three years and it was planned that visits be made by teachers to observe each other’s schools and to experience culture aspects first hand. Through photos, music and global citizenship our pupils were to be given the opportunity to experience differences in our cluster group. As a UK cluster we met regularly as a staff and each school hosted visits of pupils regularly. The Ugandan cluster visited the UK in July 2007 and the South African cluster came in September 2007. The UK & South African teachers visited Uganda in February 2007 and Uganda & UK teachers travelled to South Africa in April 2008. Partnership priorities were drawn up by each cluster group and a ‘whole school’ initiative was established. All pupils at Newick House were exposed to the visits by our cluster groups and communication took place through letters; the access to email facilities was disappointing, despite every effort being made to supply funds from the UK cluster to the African schools for generators etc. All of the pupils at Newick House School developed an understanding and knowledge of the different cultures and as a result of material brought back by our teachers the pupils were able to meet the priorities set by the cluster. Regular reports were written and submitted to the British Council.
Owing to a lack of power in Ugandan schools the use of letters was chosen to be the best method of communication. All of our pupils sent letters to the six schools, working through the link person for the year. We found out about the way they live, the food they ate and the homes they live in. Photos were exchanged between all of the clusters for use in their own schools. UK - SOUTH AFRICA - UGANDA
Pupils around the school found out lots of information about Uganda as a country, and they decided on some questions they would like to ask. They put their thoughts along with the questions, ready to ask visitors when they arrived from Uganda. What I think it would be like to live in Uganda I think it would be too hot to live in Uganda. I think the houses would be different to live in. The food would be different and the clothes would be different I think the school would be too hot to work in The Buildings would be very different. What I think it would be like to live in Uganda I would not like to go to school in Uganda. They wear different clothes to what we wear. They live in a different sort of building . It is hot in their country They have different clothes They have different houses to us They have different play grounds to us They have different food to us
Tom Browne, our teacher said: It was an extremely worthwhile activity for our pupils. It gave them an opportunity to display their work and to speak about their project on Uganda to a wide audience. For many of the pupils it was their first experience of a mainstream secondary school. The pupils enthusiastically joined in discussions about Africa and gave their perceptions of what they thought Africa may be like.
When teachers from the UK cluster went to Uganda they were amazed to see that there was a new toilet block built but it was awaiting plumbing! They had old computers ready to set up and some of the teachers are computer literate. They discussed how we could compare our recycling techniques. Many students work unsupervised due to lack of staff. As part of the partnership programme students in Mbale have been making unique jewellery. Recycled calendars have been fashioned into bead sets. It was agreed that all of the UK cluster schools would help to raise funds to support the continued education of 100 impoverished Ugandan students .
When the Ugandan visitors came to Newick House we had an assembly and we sang our new song ‘I Go Africa’ to them. Some of the younger pupils danced to the song. We learnt how to make the beads with old calendars and enjoyed showing them around our school for the whole day I Go Africa Take one step and travel far I go Africa, I go America Take 2 steps & touch the sky Close your eyes & there you are I go Australia, I go everywhere Hold your breath & close your eyes You don’t need a train or car I go India, I go Canada You don’t need a plane to fly Just close your eyes & there you are I go Zambia, I go there Just hold your breath and close your eyes
uganda it is mostly sunny & hot it is 34 degrees. animals Some of the KS2 pupils researched different aspects of life in Uganda and made a Powerpoint presentation to show the rest of the school in an assembly when the visitors came. We made ‘African music’
Uganda Africa The system of education in Uganda was set when Uganda was still a Bristish colony and was adopted when the country got its independence in 1962 . Following the visit from our Ugandan cluster many of the pupils at Newick House went on to the internet to get more interesting information and pictures so that they could write to the students in Africa with more understanding.
When the visitors from the South African cluster came to the UK they spent a full day with each of the UK cluster schools. It was very interesting to hear what they had to say about their own schools. One of the teachers told us that there were over 1000 pupils in his school and that some of the classes have 90 – 100 pupils. He told us that many of the pupils in South Africa have to walk over five miles to school each day and many of them do so with no shoes. They have to pay for their education in South Africa and many poor families make it a priority to send their children to school Everyone from KS2 – KS4 replied to letters that were sent to us from South African cluster schools.
Ms Walker and Mrs. Gow went to South Africa and they found some of the dancing really great. Ms Walker brought back some of the music to share with the pupils at Newick House. The music is at Moepi, it is their national anthem, it was sung to the group when they arrived.
Sackville students and pupils from Manor Green came to Newick House for the morning. The year 12 pupils came with material to consider different aspects of Africa: tourism, animals and habitats. Each group of pupils considered a different topic and then they fed back to the rest of the assembly at the end.
Recycling & the environmentwas one of the areas that all of the cluster schools chose as a theme. The pictures show some of the art work that was produced by year 9 pupils with the theme of ‘The Environment’
ISIS R pupils studied some of the African tribes and made masks. They had to plan their mask, design it and then create it using plaster of Paris. They enjoyed wearing them in an assembly.
We were all invited for a ‘last’ breakfast visit to Sackville, before the end of the official three year Connecting Classrooms. The older pupils at Sackville had prepared a wonderful breakfast and then showed everyone around their school. The pupils from Newick House and Manor Green were much younger & they had prepared games and work for us all. Some of the older pupils at Sackville helped our younger pupils to find some information on the computers and did puzzles with them.
Although funding for the three years has now finished, in April 2009, all three schools in the UK cluster wish to continue the links with the Ugandan and South African schools. We intend to pursue fund raising and hope that when facilities improve in Africa for internet contact we will be able to establish email links with pupils in these schools.
Lewes Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 3TY Lady Margaret Rd, Ifield, Crawley, West Sussex, RH11 0DX Birchwood Grove Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 0DP NEWICK HOUSE UK : 059/2006