Teachers’ cultural exchange

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A TEAM of teachers from Hastings’s twin town in Sierra Leone will be taking lessons in 1066 Country as part of a cultural exchange.

Half a dozen representatives from schools in Africa will be teaching in the local schools they have paired up with as part of the two towns’ successful twinning programme.

The trip, being funded by the British Council, takes place during the week beginning Monday, June 20 and the host schools are also planning a string of social events for the visitors.

And the plan is for these extra-curricular activities to give the African teachers a glimpse of day-to-day life here in Sussex.

There will also be an inter-school football tournament at Filsham Valley on the Wednesday between the local schools involved in the cross-continental link - with the teachers as guests of honour.

The trip marks the eighth anniversary of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, which has seen locals raise tens of thousands of pounds to help rebuild the West African town after much of its infrastructure was ruined by civil war.

And earlier this week members of the link gathered at Little Ridge School for its annual general meeting.

Among them were Councillor Jeremy Birch, leader of Hastings Borough Council, senior council staff Roy Mawford, Richard Homewood, Kevin Boorman, and Derek Tomblin, who currently chairs the link.

The highlight of the afternoon was a presentation by teachers who had been to Hastings Sierra Leone on the first leg of the exchange.

Lynne White and Katie Tomei (Blacklands), Melinda Spearman (Filsham Valley), Many Hinxman (Little Ridge), Sue Furness (St Mary Star-of-the-Sea) and Dawn Paines (Christ Church) all contributed to a presentation which gave a colourful and at times moving account of life in Sierra Leonean schools, where education is valued even though resources are utterly inadequate.

A full account of the meeting and more information about the link are available online at www.hastingshastings.org.uk.