Linking schools is absolutely fundamental to the friendship between the two Hastings. Though resources are very limited – almost non-existent – the children in Hastings SL see education as something precious. Schooling means primary education for most children – the opportunities for secondary education are extremely limited. In spite of the difficulties of getting work carried in either direction, classes are gradually making contact, and we were able to display work from both Hastings at the recent exhibition. In the first instance, the children have been telling each other about their lives. The seven pairs of schools so far linked are:
- St Leonards C of E School with REC Rokel Primary School
- ARK Blacklands Primary Academy with REC Hastings Primary & Infant Schools
- ARK Little Ridge Primary Academy with REC Jui-Lower Primary School
- St Paul’s C of E Primary School with REC Kossoh Town School
- St Mary Star of the Sea RC Primary School with Regmel Preparatory School
- Christ Church CE Primary School with Kankaylay Islamic School and St Mulumba RC Primary School
- St Leonards Academy with The Huntingdon Secondary School, Jui
- Baird Primary Academy with Beckley Preparatory School
- Dudley Infant School with Edest Nursery & Preparatory School
- Ore Village Primary Academy with Maynard School
- West St Leonards CP School with Glory Primary School
- Robertsbridge Community College with Kelly’s Secondary School
Children exchange messages and work – usually on shared curriculum projects. Up until the Ebola crisis, a handful of teachers have been able to exchange each year, partly funded by the British Council, partly by the schools, their PTAs or the teachers themselves. Although the SL schools do not even have what we would consider basic resources, the purpose of the partnerships is not to give financial support. However, the schools and the Link send over whatever useful materials they can provide, and two schools – Dudley Infants and Little Ridge – even raised the funding for a well to be dug in the grounds of their partner schools. At the height of the Ebola crisis, our schools raised over £6000 so that the SL teachers could be paid a little during the months that schools were closed. Christ Church School raised enough money for the staff and pupils at Kankaylay Islamic School to buy a piece of ground on which to start building new premises. See the photo on the Events page of this website. The school community is working flat out, and the building is making fantastic progress. A little group went out from Christ Church in October 2008. One of their objectives was to share ideas on how teachers can use Play to help children learn and develop.
We are exploring the possibility of linking our College of FE with Kelly’s Vocational School in Hastings.