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Brighton Teachers in The Gambia

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Westdene teachers reaffirm Global Schools Partnership with Albion Lower Basic School

Westdene Primary School in Brighton has had a long association with schools in The Gambia. Tom Kimber, one of their teachers, took a year out last year to work as a VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) volunteer in Albion Lower Basic School in Banjul. (You can see a video clip made by Tom at Albion LBS for his pupils at Westdene by clicking this link.) This year he is organising a week-long trip to Albion LBS during the imminent February half-term break, which will allow the two schools to further strengthen their relationship.

Nine teachers and four teaching assistants from Westdene, and one teacher from Carlton Hill School, will spend most of the week working together, sharing teaching experiences and developing ideas about how best the schools can work together in the future. While long-lasting projects such as a pen-pal scheme have proved hugely successful, it is hoped that this first ever sizeable gathering of teachers from both schools will lead to significant learning opportunities for both Westdene and Albion pupils.

Tom said: “During my time in The Gambia last year, I met some amazing people and made some great friends. I knew I would like to keep in touch with those friends and possibly visit if I could; I didn’t think my colleagues in the UK would be so interested in getting involved and coming along too. I’m really pleased that so many were interested in coming with me and I think the visit will be a great opportunity for both Westdene Primary and Albion Lower Basic.”

Albion LBS caters for children from grades 1-6. Like many of the schools in The Gambia, its classrooms do not have electricity or running water and often the 50 pupils in each class have to crowd around insufficient and broken furniture. The walls are generally bare and where many British classes now have an interactive whiteboard, the Albion has tattered old blackboards. It does, however, have electricity in a few small rooms, one of which has been turned into an IT suite using donated computers. As well as ideas and plans, the group will also take with them a selection of tangible educational tools, including laminators, display material, storage boxes and learning resources.

While the majority of their time will be spent at Albion LBS in Banjul, the group also plans to venture out of the city to visit schools in the more rural areas of The Gambia.


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