Cookley Sebright Primary School has been linked with a partner school in the Gambia since 2009.
Bani Lower Basic School is situated in the very small village of Bani on the north bank close to the main town of Janjanbureh on Macarthy Island in the Central River Region approximately 300km from the coastal main city of Banjal. The school opened in 1995. It is in an extremely rural area with farming as the main occupation. There are currently around 120 pupils in the school.
The link developed out of a school garden project whereby both schools set up a vegetable garden and exchanged photographs and information about what was growing and how the garden developed over a year. This involved equipping both schools with cameras to record the information.
Mr de Vine visits the community of Bani and the school annually, along with other members of staff. While there Cookley Staff work in the school and advise on successful teaching and learning strategies used in Cookley Primary School. This trip is self-funded by those who go.
Along with educational resources, our children like to source a fun item for each child as a sign of friendship. Our parents are very generous in sending items such as sports kits, school uniforms and other assorted items for the children.
Each year, class 6 undertake a mini enterprise project with proceeds going to support our link in Gambia. We currently provide money to cover school fees, educational resources and one hot meal a day for four boys from Bani to enable them to attend Janjanbureh Upper Basic School (education is free for girls).
We often make reference to Gambian life and culture in our curriculum, with classes using it as a stimuli for learning and teaching. We focus on similarities and feel privileged that the children have a real and active global dimension to their curriculum.