Norwich meets Nairobi!

1st February 2018

During February half term myself and Mr Brown had the amazing opportunity to visit our new partner school Racecourse Primary in Nairobi, Kenya as part of the British Council education programme Connecting Classrooms. The programme enables two members of staff from the UK visiting the partner school and spending a week in school. During our time there we were involved in planning and teaching lessons to classes of between 45 to 68 children! We had the chance to take part in their maths challenge day and met all the wonderful pupils and staff at Racecourse Primary.

The school day started for us at about 6:30am when we arrived at school – most days we were greeted by pupils waiting at the school gate for us and keen to shake us by the hand. I think each morning we must have shaken hands with over 500 children on their way in to school! The first lesson started at 7am and after a quick first session there was a whole school assembly at about 7.30am. With over 800 children the school hall isn’t big enough so these are held outside and are often accompanied by singing and dancing. From assembly it was straight back to class for another couple of lessons before a break. For the teachers this meant chapatti and strong tea – and it was strong! Lessons then ran until about 1pm before lunch, again with so many children this was outside on the field. A number of parents arrived at just after 1pm with hot lunches for their children – it was like a warmer version of our sports day lunch, but every day! Most of the infant school age children went home at this point leaving just the juniors. After lunch (about 2pm) it was back in to class until the end of the day at 3.15pm. The children didn’t get to go home then though. A quick break and then it was back in class for a session of private study before home time at 5pm. The teachers then had the usual meetings and marking to do before heading home themselves by about 6.00-6.30pm.

While not in school we had the opportunity to take in some of the sights in and around Nairobi. Our hosts from Racecourse Primary: Margaret, Simon and Esther made sure we had some wonderful experiences. From seeing giraffe, rhinos, zebra and lions wandering around Nairobi National Park to trying ugali and githeri for the first time. From taking a boat trip alongside hippos on Lake Naivasha to overlooking the Rift Valley. Each one simply breath-taking. The days in school, however, stole the show. To be able to work with such an amazing bunch of children and teachers was just brilliant. It was a fantastic week and one neither of us will forget.

We hope to gain future funding through the British Council to bring some of the teachers over the UK. It will be great to show them some of the fantastic things we do here at Sprowston Junior. In the meantime we have started to build on the project started during our week away. This will involve developing teaching and learning across schools by using a combination of collaborative planning and video evaluation. We will be focusing on how we can promote a more creative and imaginative approach to teaching maths across both schools and will be using a combination of letters/emails, video and skype to continue to develop the partnership between our schools.

And the future? Well the sky’s the limit!

Mr Arthur