An inspirational visit from Jolaurabi School

Jolaurabi School's head and deputy head with Bradford College ESOL staff

Teachers swapped Mombasa for Bradford when they gave college staff and students an opportunity to exchange ideas and inspiration.

Bradford College’s English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) department had a special visit from headteacher Edward Bwire Bwire and deputy head Chris Bakassa from Jolaurabi School in Kenya.

This visit was part of a tour of educational institutions across the city. Edward said: “The passion we have seen from the teachers is clear. There’s something magical going on in each place.”

For many years college ESOL students, aged between 16 and 18, have supported Jolaurabi School, a school for children aged between four and 14 created by charity Educate the Kids. As part of the partnership the college has provided Wi-Fi, flip charts, books and other equipment. Furthermore, the college’s Central Media department has donated 3D virtual headsets to every teacher so that the Kenyan pupils can experience what it is like to go on safari and explore different parts of the world.

Vanessa Phillimore, Curriculum Area Manager, ESOL, said: “It has been a brilliant opportunity for them to learn about teaching, learning and assessment practices here at the college and compare that to their own practice. We hope they can take back their experiences to enhance the children’s experience in the classroom.”

In September last year the connection between the two places was further strengthened when Jolaurabi’s choir, the Singing Children of Africa, visited the college. The choir of children aged between nine and 14, delighted the audience with traditional and contemporary African songs and dances. Edward explained: “This is about raising awareness of different cultures and charity itself and supporting children in Kenya.”

Next year Vanessa and ESOL tutor Esther Wilkey, who herself spent a year working at Jolaurabi, will return the visit, travelling to the school in February to continue sharing best practice.

Educate the Kids began in 1998 when Ian and Maureen McIntyre travelled to Utange, Kenya, and were moved by the difficult living conditions of its residents. They decided to help provide people there with some hope for the future by securing land for and building Jolaurabi School. The school supports 600 children who would otherwise not have access to education.

You can find out more about the College’s ESOL courses on the website.