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Out of Africa and into a London primaryl

South African teacher Yolanda Samaria believes she has picked up invaluable experience during her first term at an east London primary school.

"I think I'm being extended by having to learn a new curriculum and deal with different issues and systems," says Ms Samaria, who comes from Namibia but trained and taught in South Africa before arriving in this country in January.

A teacher for seven years, she was looking for the opportunity to work in a new environment when she saw an advertisement for opportunities in Newham.

After a successful interview, she flew to Britain on an 18-month work permit. Having been warned by TimePlan that children's behaviour might be challenging, Ms Samaria was plesantly surprised when she met her Year 4 pupils at Essex primary school. She was more taken aback by the amount of paperwork that teachers have here.

But apart from that and the creaking London Underground system - which she avoids by sharing a house near the school - she has no complaints.

Yolanda Samaria is one of 33 teachers recruited by Newham in South Africa last autumn. According to assistant director of education Trevor Matthews, most were previously unemployed or on short-term contracts.

Stressing that South Africa will not be deprived of their skills permanently, he adds: "We are investing quite a bit in training them and we think we are offering them a great experience."

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