A leaf out of Africa's book

8th April 2005 at 01:00
When boys at Partington primary school want to play football at break-times, they just find a ball in a store cupboard.

But pupils at their link school in Uganda have to make one first - out of banana leaves.

Youngsters at the Trafford school have been learning how different, and often difficult, life can be for children in Africa.

Setting up contacts with schools abroad has become a natural part of school life for staff and pupils at Partington.

The school has developed links with Masese co-educational school in the Jinja district of Uganda, as well as a newly-established twinning with the Ecole Ste Marthe, near Paris.

Linda Pickwell, head, said pupils of all ages were benefiting from the links. "We have been telling the Ugandan children about our environment.

The youngest pupils have written to tell them about life in their classroom, while the older infants have been discussing what our school is like," she said.

"Pupils from Uganda have sent us a typical doll that girls would play with, and a football which has been woven out of banana leaves."

Next month, Charles Opoya, the head of Masese, will come to Trafford to see how teachers at Partington work.

Ms Pickwell said the link with Uganda supplemented teaching in geography, science and the environment. Contacts with the Parisian school helped with teaching French. She said: "These links are vitally important. Our pupils learn about different cultures, the climate and how people live.

They are beginning to understand the need to look after water, and how fortunate they are to have running water and flushing toilets.

"It is also teaching them about the value of money, and other things they take for granted."

She said the links with France were a reminder that Britain is a part of Europe. "The French are our closest neighbours and we will be having a European Week to celebrate the fact."

Uganda diary 27

* dorothy.lepkowska@tes.co.uk

The TES Make The Link campaign aims to promote partnerships between British and overseas schools. Staff and pupils at partner schools are invited to exchange emails, letters and videos, and to organise exchange visits to one another's schools. For further information about The TES's Make the Link campaign, go to www.tes.co.ukMake_The_link. Let us know about your link: email Make_The_link@tes.co.uk

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