BOSTON IN BANGLADESH
At the end of last week Mr Dodds and I went to Bangladesh to fulfil our commitments to our partner schools in Narayaganj near Dhaka in Bangladesh.
Our first commitment was to the British Council, who fund our work in Bangladesh. We were pleased to be sharing our nine years of partnership working at a conference attended by the Bangladeshi Secretary of Education, Mr Sohorab Hossain, on the theme of ‘Education for a changing world’.
Our first school-based work was at the IET Government High School, where our partnership began in 2009. This is a boys’ school that works in two shifts, with one cohort attending in the morning, and another cohort attending in the afternoon. This allows the Bangladeshis to get twice as many children through school in a single day by using the same building twice.
There is so much to praise about the work undertaken by Mr Kabir from our partnership, and it was also good to see new buildings emerging on the site. As well as discussing strategies for behaviour management and the teaching of environmental issues, we planned the development of an English language club.
The boys prepared a presentation for us on the environment and you could not help but be impressed by the passion and conviction with which they spoke. The presentations ended with a lovely cake celebrating our nine years of work together.
Our work with the Narayanganj Government Girls’ School is newer, this being only our second visit. Like the boys’ school this is a two shift school, and is one of the highest achieving schools in the district. Here we have shared Purple Zone, and will be looking to support in the teaching of PE, and in particular badminton, football and handball – with the goal of widening participation in sport, and also the girls achieving well in district competitions in these three sports.
The school staged a cultural festival for us. It was humbling to see the talent, effort and commitment of the girls. It started by one girl singing ‘God Save the Queen’, (having used YouTube to learn it); we then enjoyed their singing and dancing.
It was a spectacular event. The original plan was to hold it in the school’s auditorium, but a power cut wrecked the best planning. Even though we were on the grass outside, though, you could not help but be awe struck by the effort the girls had made.
Mr Dodds threw himself into all the visits, teaching Spanish, observing English lessons, playing badminton and cricket with children, and wearing national dress at Mr Kabir’s house. Here he shares some of his impressions:
“The first thing that hit me on landing at Dhaka International Airport was the sheer volume of people, the hustle and bustle of the traffic and the incredible warm welcome offered by our host teacher Mr Kabir. This warmth proved to be a feature of the whole of the visit!
I will always remember our visits to the schools; the students were engaged, hardworking and standards were high. As a teacher of a second language I couldn’t help but be impressed by the students’ use of English at the IET Government High School to present their research on the biggest environmental problems in Bangladesh (perhaps the traffic?).The visit to the girls’ school was just as enjoyable, I had the opportunity to sit in on an English class and even “mark” some work; the level of vocabulary being used was outstanding for girls aged only 12-13.
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit such a different, vibrant and alive city, our host Mr Kabir could not have done more. He not only showed us the city but also explained the cultural and historical events that made modern Bangladesh, including the struggle of the Bangladeshi people during the Civil War over their right to speak their own language.
A unique experience was being invited for lunch at Mr Kabir’s house;this was very humbling. This will stay with me for a very long time”.
Bangladesh has many contrasts. There is the sunning countryside, and the traffic mayhem; its rapid urbanisation, and its ambitions for the future; the density of population, and the kindness of its people. It has been a privilege to work with these schools, and I am pleased that we are able to continue so doing for the next few years.
The success of this partnership is very much down to the work of Mr Kabir. He is an exceptional man, and one I am proud to consider a friend.
I was pleased to be back in school in time to celebrate with some great children during PD Hour. There was well deserved praise for Amelia Bell, Jessica Newton, Ali Keyghobadi, Rachel Wilson, Emily Adair, Ava Bagshaw, Grace Taylor, Isabel Laurie, Amy Gray, Stella Jaquiss, Pippa Linden-Howes, Megan Dykes, Scarlett Walker, Sophie Skelton, Maddy Tue, Bobby Isbell, Anna Stanbow, Millie Law, Ted Hefferman, Emily Meehan, Zain Haq, Cerys Bevan, Selina Foster, Haroon Shahzad, Millie Wilson, Kaitlin Lazenby, Callum McNamara, Harvey Williams, Damian Bozic, Amelia Edwards, Sam Courtman, Abby Summerfield, Jackson Smalley, Freya Salt Smith and Charlotte Hemsley.
HOT CHOC FRIDAY
I enjoyed the company of Abbie and Toby Dunwell this morning. They are two excellent students who have a maturity beyond their years. It was a pleasure to listen to them, as they shared their reflections on how Year 11 is going.
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY
To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day our Year 9 and Year 12 GCSE students participated in a live webcast where they heard the testimony of Janine Webber, a survivor who grew up in Poland during the Holocaust. Janine shared her testimony with over 500 schools and her message was clear – do not be a bystander and do not let your actions be fuelled by hatred.
We were delighted to host the EPOS Rock Band day on Thursday. Art Forms staff led 21 children, from three local schools, in drumming, guitar and keyboard workshops. The day culminated in a performance for family and friends of songs by the Glee cast, a-ha, Oasis, Bruno Mars and the Black Eyed Peas.
Our girls’ football team faced a strong Year10/11 team from Brigshaw Academy on Wednesday evening. With players missing due to injury and illness, lower school students from years 7, 8 and 9 stepped up to play. A tough first half saw our girls with one player down losing 8-1. In the second half the girls came back fighting and won that half 3-2 with goals from Cerys Bevan, Lucy Foster and Eva Jenkins. The final score was 10-4. Our player of the match was Maya Stephens from Year 7.
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