Kenyan teachers make return visit to Hartlepool school as link-up is strengthened

Visiting Kenyan teaching staff Mercy Mutange (lady yellow t-shirt) and Judith Mutange (striped top) with Ben Margetts, chairman of Chance to Grow and Throston Primary School headteacher Mark Atkinson (standing left) and teacher Nicola Fleetham-Reid and pupils.

Visiting Kenyan teaching staff Mercy Mutange (lady yellow t-shirt) and Judith Mutange (striped top) with Ben Margetts, chairman of Chance to Grow and Throston Primary School headteacher Mark Atkinson (standing left) and teacher Nicola Fleetham-Reid and pupils.

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Teachers from Kenya visited Hartlepool as the partnership to strengthen links between two schools thousands of miles apart.

Six members of the writing group at Throston Primary School, in Flint Walk, enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime trip in July as they met up with their pen pals at Great Mercy School, in Kitale, Kenya.

Visiting teacher Mercy Mutange with Throston pupils Kai Arnold and Erin Frankland.

Visiting teacher Mercy Mutange with Throston pupils Kai Arnold and Erin Frankland.

At the start of the new school year, it was intended that staff and pupils from the Kenyan school would make a return trip, but due to delays over passports, only two teachers were able to visit.

Headteacher Judith Mutange and teacher Mercy Mutange made the trip, as they were given the chance to compare the curriculum of the two countries and learn about education in England.

As well as Throston, they also spent a day each at High Tunstall College of Science, on Elwick Road, and Springwell School, in Wiltshire Way.

Throston headteacher Mark Atkinson was delighted to further boost the link between the schools.

This is just the start of the friendship between the schools

Mark Atkinson

He said: “This is just the start of the friendship between our two schools.

“The children have loved having them here, especially those who came out to Kenya with us in July.

“They showed them around the school and gave them a useful insight. The whole thing has brought everyone a bit closer.

“The staff have been staying with me, so they have been able to experience English home life as well.

Visiting headteacher Judith Mutange (centre) with Throston pupils Daniel Fletcher, Faith Evans, Macey Fleetham-Reid, Stephen Phillips, Lucie Griffith and Sienna Williams.

Visiting headteacher Judith Mutange (centre) with Throston pupils Daniel Fletcher, Faith Evans, Macey Fleetham-Reid, Stephen Phillips, Lucie Griffith and Sienna Williams.

“We’re also hoping to have a boy and a girl from the school over to visit us in October.

“Most of the children at the school are orphans, and they stay overnight there, and that has made it more difficult with the paperwork to get a passport, which is why they haven’t been able to come over yet.”

Both visits were part-funded by the British Council and also supported by charity Change to Grow.

Mr Atkinson added: “The curriculum and behaviour of the children are not too dissimilar, but the resources are very different.

“The teachers have enjoyed it, and have participated in all different types of lessons.

“They have been able to find out about education in England, and they also brought bracelets that the children in Kenya made for our pupils, which was fantastic.

“This is just the start of the partnership, and we intend to keep on building it.”