Schools Spotlight on Team St. Patrick's
Wilson Kipketa, three-time world 800m champion and graduate of St Patrick's
In the Spotlight this week is St Patrick's High School in Kenya, a school remarkable for producing long-distance running champions, and its UK partner school, Highcliffe School in Dorset.
UPDATE FROM THE SCHOOLS
Phil Coughlan, Teacher, Highcliffe School, and Alex Oyuga, Teacher, St Patrick's
The enthusiasm generated during Olympic Dreams Live easily transferred to Highcliffe school with the visit of Mr Oyuga (Alex) and Moses.
Monday passed in a blur of meetings and tours, seeing the school at work and talking with as many staff and students as possible.
There were discussions covering curricula, day-to-day school activities, lesson styles, and societal attitudes to education and aspirations of students - as well as the important issue of the passionate devotion of the Kenyan sporting public to the Premier League.
In a particular highlight, Moses attended an after school International Dimension School Planning Group meeting and entranced the staff for an hour with his analysis of the similarities and differences between his schooling and that of his peers in the UK - outlining the good and bad aspects of life as a Kenyan teenager and some sophisticated geopolitical analysis.
On the Tuesday we were lucky enough to be able to arrange a tour of the Olympic Sailing Centre in Weymouth for Alex, Moses and a group of our gifted and talented sports students.
Highcliffe school visit the Olympic Sailing Centre in Weymouth with Alex and Moses
Obviously it is early days, but two main projects are being developed for a trial run in the summer term and full-scale implementation in 2012.
One project goes under the grand name of 'Mini-Olympics'. This will be a P.E. project with team competitions; each team drawn jointly from the two schools and events taking place in both schools.
The scores will be combined to produce winning teams, with award ceremonies taking place in each school. The idea is to expand this next year to create opportunities for communication and planning between the students leading up to events.
The second project is the entering of a team from Highcliffe (defending British honour) in the Iten Mathematics Competition which is organised by St Patrick's and is a big national competition in Kenya.
We were also lucky that the link occurred at a time when St Patrick's was coming up to celebrations of its 50th anniversary. We were able to share a report of this event, attended by the Kenyan PM, with the local community here in Highcliffe via our school newsletter.
As we plan the activities for the next academic year the sense of excitement builds for both the link and 2012 itself. Highcliffe Students are highly impressed with St Patrick's when they see video of it in assemblies.
Barely a day passes now without a staff member or student reminding Phil that they need to be on the plane 'when we go to Kenya!'