Fatou Barrow, who went to Springfield Infants School, in Sackville Road, on Thursday, had never previously left her homeland, where she is head teacher at Tubab Jenny and Lynda’s Nursery School in Sinchu Balia.
Her visit to the UK was organised by the charity GEMS as part of the Connecting Classrooms project, thanks to funding from the British Council. Mrs Barrow spent ten days in Brighton and Hove, Worthing and London, visiting various schools.
Springfield pupils have been raising funds for the Gambian school and each year, sponsor teacher salaries, along with providing funds for learning resources such as books and chalk.
Last week’s visit followed a recent trip by UK teachers to West Africa to support teaching and learning.
Head teacher Becky Wycherley said: “The children of Springfield school are very involved in fundraising for our partnership school and learn about Gambia as part of their studies.”
Mrs Barrow was given a guided tour around the school building and had the opportunity to see learning in action, as well as ask questions about the teaching and learning styles.
Children at school handed her £90 for school equipment, having raised the money through collecting textiles for recycling.
Mrs Wycherley added: “She joined us for a whole school assembly where she was most impressed with the wonderful enthusiastic children.
“She then spent time in each class telling the pupils about life in Gambia. Fatou explained that education is free while the children attend the lower basic school, age seven upwards, but fees have to be paid for any education under seven. The children were fascinated and asked very thoughtful questions.”
Mrs Barrow said: “Springfield is now part of our school. We will learn so much from each other, students and teachers.
“We aim to share understanding on identity, our culture and to build appreciation of our common goals. In future I hope that there will be exchanges to continue to build on this.”
Mrs Barrow also took time to say thank you to Fethneys, the Leonard Cheshire Disability care home in Farncombe Road, Worthing, which had recently sent her school dresses made of recycled pillowslips.
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