Three primary schools in the East Riding are working with three schools in Africa to make the world a better place.
The partnership cluster of six schools, where children collaborate on common themes, are part of a planet-wide initiative comprising 130 countries and millions of children.
Closer to home, Ebor Academy Trust schools Riston Church of England Primary Academy and Sigglesthorne Church of England Primary Academy, together with local authority school Skirlaugh CE Primary, have spent a term exploring the need for clean water and sanitation – one of 17 “global goals” for sustainable development identified by world leaders. These goals have the power to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change and are behind the United Nations’ “World’s Largest Lesson”.
Mrs Sarah Hall, headteacher at Riston Church of England Primary Academy, said pupils in all of the schools had responded positively to the initiative. “The children here love it and between us, the three schools have established excellent links with our counterparts in Sierra Leone.” The partnerships have been supported and facilitated by the chair of Hull’s Freetown Society, Kathleen Guthrie, an advocate of global learning who has forged links with Sierra Leone’s capital city.
Mrs Hall continued: “One of the African schools is in a tent, with no walls, and our children feel passionately that everybody has the right to access a good education and a place to learn is critical. It is great to widen our children’s horizons at all of our schools and a privilege to hear the children talk with such passion and determination about their desire to reduce inequalities. We regularly exchange letters and emails and our three schools in England, along with our three partners in Freetown, have set up an International Pupil Council, led by the children in all of our schools, to work out what to do next.”
The East Riding schools are bidding for funding from the British Council which, if successful, could mean exchange visits.
A fundraising event was well supported by families of children at the three Yorkshire schools and raised over £1,300 for the Sierra Leone schools. All of the children in the six schools came together to tackle Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation. A full day of learning about the importance of clean water, the struggle to access it in Sierra Leone and the importance of supporting each other to make things fair was an incredible success with children not only here, but also in Africa.
“The primary purpose is to encourage sharing and raise awareness of some really important issues, especially around inequality,” said Mrs Hall. The global goals are shared through the “World’s Largest Lesson”, which includes free resources for schools, involved all participating children and has the support of figures young people know and respect, including Malala Yousafzai, Neymar Jr and Emma Watson.
Mrs Hall encourages other schools to take part and says she would be happy to talk to other headteachers who want to find out more. Further details are also online at www.globalgoals.org