Teacher exchange visits between the town and Hastings in Sierra Leone have now resumed following the eradication of the Ebola outbreak.
Two teachers flew in from Sierra Leone earlier this month as guests of their twinned schools here in Hastings
Esther Tommy, head of Edest Preparatory and Primary School in Jui, spent the week with teachers and children at Dudley Infant Academy and Letitia Huggins, the Deputy Head of Jui Lower Primary School, worked at ARK Little Ridge Primary Academy, sharing different teaching techniques and comparing life in schools in the twinned towns.
Roger Mitchell, Schools liaison officer for the Link said, “The last two years have been extremely challenging and it has been difficult to maintain communication between the schools and enthusiasm for the twinning.
Teachers both here and in Sierra Leone had continued to meet and work hard to maintain contact.
To see the first teachers’ visit since the Ebola outbreak is very exciting. The twinning programme is gaining strength again with more schools coming on board and it is really encouraging after the uncertainties, fears and personal tragedies of the Ebola crisis. Early discussions are already underway about a visit to Sierra Leone next February to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Twinning and it is hoped that a number of teachers will be able to visit their partner schools in Hastings SL.”
As well as spending time teaching in school the visitors had a busy programme of meetings and out of school activities arranged by Roger which culminated in the Annual Schools’ Football Tournament at St Leonards Academy and the Friendship Link’s Annual General Meeting hosted by Guestling Bradshaw CE Primary School.
On the Saturday the Africans were taken by their hosts for a day seeing the sights of London on their way to Heathrow for their flight home in the evening.
Roger Mitchell added: “Roger went on to say, “These exchanges are valuable in widening the pupils’ understanding of different cultures and lifestyles and makes the children both here and in Sierra Leone more aware of the world they are growing up in.”
The Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link was established in 2003. The Frienship was recognised by Hastings Borough Council in 2007 and an official twinning charter was drawn up to unite the two towns.
A dozen school partnerships have been set up over the years.
More information about the Friendship Link can be found at www.hastingshastings.org.uk.
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