Sparsholt College receive British Council Connecting Classrooms funding

Sparsholt College has received funding from the British Council to support ongoing work with its link-school in The Gambia. The Connecting Classrooms funding of £3,000 will enable teaching staff at Sparsholt and Mingdaw School in The Gambia to benefit from each country’s education system and teaching methods whilst also learning about an entirely different culture.

Connecting Classrooms is a global education initiative, which offers school partnerships and professional development for teachers. This grant from the British Council will finance two teachers from Sparsholt College to visit Mingdaw School and two teachers from Mingdaw School to visit the College. While in Sparsholt, The Gambian visitors will be keen to pick up techniques on teaching and engaging with students. The funding has a particular focus on science and maths which is an aspect the Mingdaw School wishes to develop.

Lynn Nicholls Quality Improvement and Performance Manager said: “Although we are very different culturally, there is much we can learn from each other. Classes in The Gambia typically have as many as 60 children of varying ages and abilities. We are really looking forward to the exchange visits, which the British Council funding will finance, so we can learn from each other and experience first-hand a different education system and a different culture.”

Building the relationship with The Gambia has been a three year Diversity initiative which has seen Muctarr Bojang, the lead co-ordinator in The Gambia supporting the Oxfordshire based charity Sponsor a Gambian Child, visit the College in 2012 and 2013. During his time here Muctarr ran workshops for both staff and students which led to 31 students visiting The Gambia and Mingdaw School in March 2014.

It costs approximately £130 per year to send a child to school in The Gambia. This sum includes uniform, shoes, study fees, exam fees, exercise book and pencils. Through a range of fundraising activities staff and students at the College have raised funds to sponsor two Gambian children’s education and a number of staff now privately sponsor the education of a Gambian child through the UK’s Sponsor a Gambian Child charity.

Lynn Nicholls concludes: “Whether hearing from Muctarr in a classroom in the UK or spending time with children in The Gambia, all involved have found the experience hugely enlightening and very fulfilling. This British Council funding will enable us to continue this worthwhile project and share our strengths and best practice to the benefit of the staff and students of both communities.”