Two Trustees visited the school this May, the first Trustee visit since the troubles earlier in the year. They were delighted to find the school running smoothly with a full compliment of 90 children attending. In fact it was apparent that huge progress had been made by the teachers, in particular Pamela, our Head Teacher in taking responsibility for developing and improving the school. This was notable in both the quality of teaching and the operational efficiency of the school. The enthusiastic chaos experienced during earlier visits had been replaced by a structured organised timetable. The Trustees felt that the many previous visits by Trustees where we have repeatedly attempted to empower the teachers to take charge has finally began to make a difference.
The quality of the teaching and organisation of the school has been recognised recently when a Government Schools Inspector during there annual visit declared the school and the results achieved by the pupils as “Above Average”. A fantastic result when we bear in mind that it has only been an officially recognised school for the past year.
Two new teachers have joined the team since the last visit. Binti who is a qualified Kindergarden school teacher and Michael, a Pastor, who is considering whether to train as a teacher. This gives us a compliment of 5 teachers, 4 of whom are qualified inaddition to an assistant. Whilst this compares favourably to the number of students the problem is that we are now teaching 9 classes (KinderGarden 1-3 and Standard Grade 1-6) therefore each teacher has to cover more than 1 class. A problem which will be compounded in January when we have ano class, Standard 7.
The major news is that the Trustees were able to successfully negotiate an extension to the lease of the school for a further 8 years, this ensures we have the building until 2016. As part of the deal we also have the right to extend the building to construct a further 2 classes. Essential since our existing rooms have 2 or 3 classes being taught together.
The food program was running smoothly and the pleasure it gives to the children remains an absolute joy to experience. Due to the recent massive increase in food costs we have reduced the food allowance to a bowl of porridge 3 times a week, bread and tea twice a week and fruit 3 times a week. Whilst this does not sound a great deal it is genuinely appreciated. The cook who works part time runs the operation superbly albeit in very basic conditions which we endeavoured to improved with the purchase of a new gas rings, pots and pans and cleaning equipment.
The other major development was the introduction of a new library. Kindly donated by Mr Justin Fleming in memory of his wife, Franzi, the library was constructed and stocked during our visit. The aim was to provide the children of all ages with enjoyable reading books in English to motivate and stimulate them. We also wanted to provide sufficient books so that each class member could have their own copy to better improve their understanding, previously one book had been passed around the class! The response was fantastic with the children of all ages using the books as part of their English class.
Finally a brief mention and thankyou to a volunteer who has spent the past three weeks at the school. Lisa has assisted the teachers and pupils by giving her time and financial assistance generously and it was apparent that she had made a massive difference in the school. We hope to soon have an update from Lisa to provide a different perspective on spending time as a volunteer at the school.
In summary a very positive upbeat visit with the school and teachers making great progress. Most importantly of course the children are continuing to experience an education and personal development that otherwise would not be available to them.