The Academy is very proud of its International Links which began in 2007 through the Dreams and Teams Project and has gone from strength to strength.
This project led to links with Axum in Ethiopia and Lagos in Nigeria.
Headteachers and staff from schools both in Axum and Lagos spent some time in the Academy in September 2007 which led to strong links and friendships with the two African Countries.
Return visits to Axum and Lagos were undertaken to Ethiopia by Jane English and John Julyan in March 2008 and Jason Trevarthen and Tessa Thomas visited Lagos. Both trips were made possible through the British Council.
Once the links were established further visits were made.
Nigerian and Ethiopian Links
In February 2009 Sanya High School in Lagos brought staff and pupils to Paignton who enjoyed time both in the College and in two of our local primary schools: Whiterock and Roselands.
The Academy was then invited to be part of the British Council Connecting Classrooms Programme and Jane English and Tessa Thomas travelled to Lagos in Nigeria during October Half Term 2010 to link up with staff from additional schools in both Ethiopia and Nigeria.
This visit led to some excellent links with the newly involved Lagos schools with three members of staff (Stella Soetan, Bola Alao and Bisi Ogun) funding their own visit to the UK in September 2011. The staff in their Nigerian traditional dress made a huge impact in the college taking part in Assemblies and lessons. A moment which will remain in staff and students’ minds alike will be the Academy’s African Drumming Band playing and three Nigerian teachers spontaneously getting up to dance. It was a magical moment.
During their time in Paignton the Nigerians visited Whiterock, Roselands and Curledge Street Primary Schools.
Originally the September visit should have included four staff from Nigeria but visa complications, which are often a difficulty, meant that Florence Fasoyiro, Headteacher of Duro-Oyedin Primary School was not able to visit until January 2012. Florence chose the coldest part of the winter and found the weather in Paignton and London particularly trying. During her time here she visited Whiterock and Roselands Primary Schools as well as spending time with students in the Academy.
It was a real pleasure to host these visits and a privilege to have them working with us in the Academy.
In March 2012 the Principal, Jane English, was invited to take part in a School Leadership Project with Nigerian Headteachers. Jane travelled to Lagos with Pete Maunder, Headteacher of Oldway School and Mike Lock Headteacher of Combe Pafford to work with fifteen Nigerian Headteachers. They took the opportunity to meet up with the friends and colleagues Paignton already enjoyed as well as making new links with more schools in Nigeria. The Nigerians involved in this British Council School Leadership Project will visit Paignton in June 2012.
Schools involved in the Links
Axum Secondary School, Axum
Axum Preparatory School, Axum
Megabit 18 Primary School
Sanya Senior Grammar School, Lagos
Lagos Senior Student High school, Lagos
Plantation High School
Ijeshatedo Junior Secondary School
Duro-Oydoyin Primary School
Links with Uganda
The College has linked up with the Child’s i Foundation which is running the Malaika Babies’ home in Mengo, Kampala.
The work of the Foundation is to “Create Families, not Orphans”. The Home is a converted house with 24 beds or cots for children who are abandoned in toilets, car parks, hospitals and rubbish dumps.
The Team at Malaika spend a huge amount of time and effort tracing members of the abandoned babies’ families and work towards resettling them back with family members. If this is not possible they will look for another Ugandan family who may be able to take on the care of the abandoned child.
Pupils in Year 7 have taken on fund raising for the Babies’ home and sent the Principal, who was travelling to Kampala for the Easter break, with a bag full of goodies for the children and some electronic notebooks for the Social Work Team. Support for this charity work will be on-going in the College.
We have been lucky enough to have received some video stories from the Malaika Babies’ home:
The social workers travel 4000 km a month across Uganda to track down children’s extended families. Victoria and Maria recently went tracing for Aaron’s family and this involved going on a canoe!
Once the social workers have traced extended families, they reunite abandoned children with family members. Sophie, Maureen and Ema revisited baby Michael and his grandfather who are a touching example of a successful resettlement of an abandoned child.
Why International Links?
- The Academy is situated in Torbay which has very little cultural diversity. Linking with Africa brings a wonderful opportunity for pupils to appreciate a very different rich and vibrant culture.
- Many pupils have little knowledge of life above and beyond the South West and these links enable them to acquire a wider knowledge of the world and develop International understanding.
- Engagement with African people helps reduce racist attitudes.
- Working with a specific charity in Uganda which has the technology to engage with schools really brings fund raising and the impact of supporting others to life.
- The links also enables students to appreciate the similarities and differences between the United Kingdom and Africa and gives them an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate they really are.
The Academy was proud to be awarded the Full International Award in September 2011.