Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

January 2019 update from Isabel Hodger

 Reciprocal Visits

We have had two a very successful visits over the last 12 months.

February 2018

In February 2018 a group of 12 teachers visited their partner schools in Sierra Leone led by Isabel Hodger, and supported by Mandy Hinxman. The visit took place between 9th and 19th February 2018 and was a great success. Most teachers were new to Africa, but all adjusted very well and were totally absorbed with the culture and life in Sierra Leone.  This visit was financed through a British Council grant, and supported by the Sierra Leone Hastings Association (UK) with Yvonne Johnson accompanying us to smooth our experience. Francis Mason, our co-ordinator in Sierra Leone, played a key role in providing transport and out of school activities.

Teachers funded by British Council grants visited their schools each day during the week, and joint projects were set up to continue after the visit. The group attended a British Council Connecting Classrooms Conference on the first day with colleagues from Hull and Liverpool. Isabel ran another Maths Workshop, and 40 teachers attended, (23 last year).

Chloe Hinxman and Jenna French, who joined us for the Sierra Leone experience, and to use their particular skills working with teachers and children, spent the week working in schools, teaching Maths and Sports. This was a very successful experiment and culminated in a fantastic sports afternoon involving all Hastings schools on the Friday of our visit.  Chloe also helped Isabel with the Maths Workshop.

Isabel and Mandy visited schools that didn’t have teachers visiting this year to maintain contact and share gifts.

All the teachers learnt so much during the visit. It was a sobering and powerful learning experience for us all, and we understood so much more about Global Citizenship which we were able to share with our schools back in UK.

October 2018

Six schools welcomed teachers for the visit in October accompanied by Francis Mason. They were:

  • Battle and Langton – Cordelia Sannah – Jui Lower
  • St Leonards Academy – Sylvanus Huggins – Huntingdon Secondary Jui
  • Battle Abbey Senior School – Christiana Palmer – Kellys
  • Christ Church CE – Osman Kamara – Kankalay
  • All Saints CE and Dudley – Jo James Kaindo – Edest
  • Hollington- Serrah Conteh – Jui Upper

It was a another very successful week. The Sierra Leone teachers spent 5 days in their schools, working alongside their partners. They were very keen to learn about education in Hastings UK and took lots of good ideas back with them to try out in Hastings, Sierra Leone. They attended a full day workshop on ‘What Makes a Good Teacher’ run by Isabel with the help of Rachel Plank, a local secondary Maths teacher, and hosted by Battle and Langton School. To end the day, Kitty Davey at Battle Abbey arranged for a guided tour of the the Abbey and the battle field.

Other activities included a very interesting tour of The Old Town led by Kevin Boorman, some crazy golf, a meal with Alison Baines, a meal at Mama Putts in St Leonards, and a wonderful Farewell event hosted by Christ Church CE.

British Council Connecting Classrooms

The British Council have introduced a new round of grants for the period 2018-2020. This time schools have to apply as a cluster, with one school in the cluster being the lead school, and one teacher from that school being the lead teacher. In order to be successful, schools have to agree on a joint project, organise events within their schools and within their communities and also run joint community celebrations.  They also have to take part in cluster training on an agreed topic. This all applies to our partner schools in Sierra Leone, too.

For this round of grants, all our 24 schools have agreed on Zero Waste as our project, very topical currently, with Claverham doing an additional project to develop ICT with their partner school.

Four schools were successful in achieving a British Council grant as part of Cluster 1.

These included

  • All Saints CE (Lead Cluster School with Mandy Hinxman taking the role of Lead Cluster Teacher)
  • Claverham Community College
  • St Leonards CE
  • St Pauls CE

We are just applying for the next Cluster of schools (Cluster 2) to include

  • Guestling CE (Lead Cluster School with Faith Rew taking the role of Lead Cluster Teacher)
  • St Mary Magdalene RC
  • Christchurch CE
  • Battle and Langton CE
  • Sedlescombe CE
  • St Mary Star of the Sea RC
  • Sacred Heart RC

We may have enough schools to make up a third cluster later in the year.

Unfortunately there will be no teachers from Cluster 1 visiting in February 2019 as the cost of flights was too high when trying to book at the last minute.  So they will join Cluster 2 teachers to visit in 2020.

Isabel will go out in February 2019 to continue to partnership link, run some workshops, visit schools and hopefully meet with some Education officials in the REC and the new Head at the British Council.

Also going will be Kris Cymer, IT Manager from Claverham, who will be working with Huntingdon Allentown to set up a computer with solar panel, and lead some training for teachers on how to use it effectively. He may also be able to work with other schools, or even with the Twin Town Centre if time.

The British Council grant is very demanding this time round and at our future meetings we will be working on an Action Plan for all schools to make sure we complete all the activities required.  In the framework of our partnership’s ‘Zero Waste’ projec t, we will be doing activities such as street cleans and celebration events to engage the community as well as the schools.  Our partner schools in Sierra Leone will also be doing community activities, and sharing ideas with us here in UK.

We hope to bring some of our Sierra Leone teachers over in summer 2019. We will try to coincide their visit with some of the activities mentioned above, plus the annual Soccer Tournament which Roger Mitchell is organising.

Sanitation Project

Alongside all the education activities, the HSLFL are embarking on a Sanitation Project to bring accessible water, clean toilets, hand washing facilities and appropriate waste disposal to all our schools.  Read more about this by clicking on this link.

Isabel Hodger-  January 2019