Depth of feeling touches all pupils

14th October 2005 at 01:00
TESHSBC special school link award Prize pound;500

Dorton House special school for the visually impaired near Sevenoaks, Kent, is linked with Milton Margai school in Freetown, the only school for the blind in Sierra Leone, where some pupils lost their sight in the rebel war and many lost family as well.

Having communicated using braille letters for two years, Milton Margai pupils and their teacher, who is also visually impaired, visited Dorton House in July - an unforgettable experience for both schools.

Broadening the horizons of visually impaired children is a challenge, says Mary Berg, key stage 34 co-ordinator. "For some, even down the road is another planet. It is very difficult to get a feel for another environment.

So it was wonderful for them to hear, touch and 'see' the Milton Margai pupils and get a feel for Sierra Leone by talking to them."

Dorton House pupils are amazed at the African pupils' ease of movement, developed in the "school of hard knocks" - they get to know their environment through bumping into things. In England, the African pupils took part in formal mobility training, and used the "tactile" maths equipment. A joint music project has been a huge success and thanks to an interest in African music brought about by the link, world music is now part of the Dorton House syllabus. A joint arts project has been started using drawing which can be "felt". It has brought art to the Milton Margai curriculum for the first time.

"The aim of the link is to bring a global dimension into all areas of the curricula in both schools," Ms Berg said.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now