At Heworth we are always trying to broaden the horizons of our students through the development of a global dimension within the curriculum. With this in mind, two members of our staff travelled to rural Kenya during October half-term last year with the aim of developing a partnership with Usao Mixed Secondary School in the district of Mbita, on the shores of Lake Victoria. The entirely self-funded trip also involved staff and pupils from Ponteland Middle school and was organised through the charity Development Direct.
Ms Kilpatrick and Mr Davidson had been in contact with Head Teacher Mr Opere for some months leading up to the trip. Our staff were made to feel very welcome by the teachers and students of Usao, some of whom had never met European visitors before. Ms Kilpatrick taught a lesson on portraiture and Mr Davidson was fascinated to discover that the Maths lessons were very similar to what we teach in England. The students’ lessons are all taught in English, which for many is their third language and yet they are completely fluent. The school consists of a few brick built classrooms and has no access to electricity or running water. The setting however could not be more scenic; the school is situated in the mountains and is surrounded by lush green farmland. Some students travel miles on foot to arrive at school on time for the 7am start, and are there until 6pm.
We are currently developing a joint Art project with Usao. Some of our Year 7 students are documenting their journey to school, something we will ask the Kenyan students to do as well. This will hopefully allow for some interesting comparisons and will give students in both schools the opportunity to have a glimpse into the lives of their counterparts abroad. Ultimately, the goal is for some of our students to travel to Kenya and visit Usao in person. We hope to make this a long term partnership, which is mutually beneficial for Heworth and Usao.