‘Do it with passion’; a school cluster link with Kenya

A curriculum-focussed school partnership project can reach across a number of curriculum areas, including Maths, Science, Geography, English, Art, Drama, Music and ICT.

The cluster of secondary schools in the UK are Dene Magna School, Newent School and Lakers School, all of which are in the Forest of Dean in West Gloucestershire. The three Kenyan schools are close to the city of Kisumu in Western Kenya. All of the schools had individual links prior to the formation of the cluster in 2003. It was decided when forming the cluster and the curriculum project that students would be exchanged in order to give the project a greater impact in the schools and in the local communities.

Phase 1: Energy

The first year of the project had energy as its focus. The different energy needs of each country were studied as part of Geography and Science work with mainly KS4 students. The students went on to explore how the energy needs could be met sustainably using solar energy. During the exchanges the students designed and built solar ovens from recycled materials and these were tested at a youth energy conference held in the UK and then in Kenya.

Phase 2: Creative Writing

During the second year it was decided to exploit the creative skills of the students by challenging them to write poetry and also to create artwork to accompany some of the poems and creative pieces. Over the course of the year there was a teacher exchange, but not a student exchange, this was mainly because of the difficulties in raising the funds required. When the Kenyan teachers visited the UK the poems and artwork were selected to go into an anthology which was later published. The anthology contained poems following the themes of nature and sustainability, as well as other relevant topics such was women’s equality and HIV/AIDS.

Phase 3: Performing Creative Writing

Having listened and watched many stirring performances by Kenyan students it was decided to try and get the Kenyan students to teach their more reticent UK peers to recite poetry with passion and feeling. Using video footage and live performances during a second student exchange, UK students will be challenged to ‘Do It With Passion’.

The curriculum project has involved a number of curriculum areas within the schools and has also drawn in other departments, such as Maths, that may not have an obvious link with any of the chosen topics. Science, Geography, English, Art, Drama, Music and ICT have all become involved in the three-year project and it is hoped that this will continue beyond the life of the financial support from the British Council.

Find out more

School links: For further information about issues to consider and organisations to contact, visit our School Links & Partnerships page.

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