Schools partnership welcomed by Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak has seen a partnership between schools in Kenya and Bedale, North Yorkshire, in action.

Mowbray School, a special school, established the partnership with Obalwanda Special School in Mbita, Kenya, five years ago and has worked on a number of joint projects.

As a result of the partnership, the Kenyan school now successfully grows its own vegetables in specially-designed keyhole gardens, rears chickens, composts waste food and has a purpose-built solar powered shower block.

Lucy Wallace, a higher level teaching assistant at Mowbray, said the projects were started at the Bedale school and then introduced to Obalwanda School.

Mowbray has its own flourishing nature reserve and a full working farm with an array of different animals and horticulture. Mr Sunak was given a tour of the school’s facilities by pupils, headteacher Jonathan Tearle and Ms Wallace.

Ms Wallace said Mowbray’s pupils had a deeper understanding of a completely different culture as a result of the partnership. They had participated in fundraising to help with the projects and most recently had sold beadwork produced in Obalwanda School to their peers to raise money.

Mr Sunak said: “The children are clearly learning a lot about diversity and different cultures from the projects and it was great to see their enthusiasm for sustainability, renewable energy and recycling.”

The schools’ partnership was formed under the Connecting Classrooms programme - a joint Department for International Development (DFID)/British Council-funded scheme which aims to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and values to live, and in the longer term, work in the global economy.

It does this by building links between schools in the UK and those in the developing countries and helping pupils develop skills in such areas as digital literacy, global citizenship, and critical thinking and problem solving.