Brightlingsea Free School Developments
The Brightlingsea Free School
We have made a lot of changes at the school with building works, new staff and pupils so we want to update you all on the setup of the school.
The school has one large baby room for children from 0-2 years old. There are three members of staff who care for the children in this room and they follow a very simple curriculum developed by UNICEF and the Ghanaian government. We are lucky to have lots of toys in this room, donated by a volunteer. Currently there are 35 children who regularly attend the baby room (crèche), as they say in Ghana.
Then we have a nursery class level which has 30 children. The nursery class is broken down into nursery 1, for children aged 2 – 3 years old, and nursery 2, for children aged 3 – 4 years old. Both classes have their own teachers.
Next we have Kinder Garden (KG) classroom for children aged 4-5, with another teacher and around 30 children in this class.
And finally, we have our eldest class of children who are in the Primary 1 class. There are only a small number of them at the moment, no more than 15 come regularly.
We use the Ghanaian and UNICEF established curriculum and staff create their lesson plans according to this.
We have four new classrooms recently built at the Brightlingsea School. These were built with a grant from Hazel’s Footprints Trust and Hills Building Group. One of these classrooms is currently in use, that’s the Primary 1 classroom.
We intend to use one of these classrooms shortly as a school library. We have had lots of people in Brightlingsea and from a primary school in Braintree donate old school books. These were shipped to Ghana just after Christmas and have just arrived. Laura, one of our trustees, is currently in Ghana and will be sorting the books into reading age groups and sorting a library timetable with the staff so students use the books regularly. All books are English school books. We try to encourage an ethos of speaking the English language at the school. This will be beneficial for the pupils as they continue in their education.
Regularly we have 110 children come to the school. We are still seeking sponsors for most of these children. Unfortunately education does not have the same status in Ghana as in the UK. If a parent needs to leave for work very early and cannot remind their four year old to attend school that day, then the chances are the child won’t come, obviously they are four! This is the reason for lots of our random absences each week.
Kofi is currently sending sponsors updates but he is now studying for his masters at university. It has become clear that there are many more issues that need to be dealt with, for example parents sending children to school with no underwear or shoes on. Therefore, this year, we are looking to ring-fence funding to pay for a caring social worker to work closely with parents on these and other issues.
Playground equipment has now arrived at the school. We have sent swings, a slide and a seesaw. The ground will need to be leveled before it can be set up. Laura will be teaching the children how to use these play items safely.
BOOTS FOR AFRICA
We work closely with another charity called Boots For Africa. They collect football boots from matches in and around Essex and ship to Africa. They have supplied all our children at the Brightlingsea School with a pair of football boots, not just to play football in but to safely walk home in. The roads are tough and dry so football boots are perfect to protect little feet.