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Why the Jo'burg bus stops in Somerset

A bus carrying video messages to the G8 leaders from African children stopped at a Somerset secondary this week on its epic journey from Johannesburg to the Edinburgh summit.

Pupils at Holyrood community school, Chard, had been tracking the ActionAid bus online from Jo'burg to the G8 since it left South Africa on March 31.

Maurice Hicks, the Holyrood headteacher, said: "The pupils were shown videos of children in Africa, where there were 150 pupils to a class and no desks.

"The Year 9s put together an assembly for Year 7s and 8s, including graphic pictures of starving children, but we decided it would have been too distressing for them."

Children at Caterham high in Ilford, Essex, meanwhile, have paid pound;1 to wear white on July 13 during a charity sports day to raise money for Mzimba secondary school where Bill Harrison, Caterham geography teacher, used to work.

Each form, representing some of the world's poorest countries such as Ethiopia, Liberia, Afghanistan and Rwanda, will carry flags on to the sports pitch and compete on the day.

The event will begin with a ceremony complete with African drums, cheerleaders and speeches written by the students in Tamil, Farsi, Somali and English.

Andy Jennings, head of PE, said: "The children have been really up for this. The African drums were their idea and the speeches in different languages. I will be checking them beforehand to make sure there is nothing outrageous in there."

Between 200 and 300 sixth-formers are due to converge on London's Trafalgar Square tonight to tie a white ribbon around Nelson's Column as part of an event organised by Envision, a charity based in the capital.

Teachers from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers will march at the G8 rally in Edinburgh tomorrow with members from the other teaching unions.

More than 600 students from All Hallows Roman Catholic school, in Farnham, Surrey, spelt out the words Make Poverty History in a giant human sculpture on the school's front gardens.

John Bird, deputy head, said: "The students thought it was a pretty trendy thing to do because they had seen something like it on a Big Brother advert."

Teachers can download lesson ideas on Africa, children's rights and world poverty by visiting and going to the Educ8 section.

The website also urges schools to hold a non-uniform day on July 8 to coincide with the end of the G8 summit. It suggests pupils wear red, gold and green - the African colours - to raise money for the African Educational Trust.

News 15

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