Setting up School Links
Linking schools in Wiltshire (and beyond) with schools in the Gambia is at the heart of what we do at WGEC. For any school that has been involved at any level with school linking, whether with a school in Europe or further afield, there will be things that we agree on. Linking with a school somewhere very different to your own area can bring the world into your classroom on a personal and professional level in a way that arguably no other initiative can.
It can reinforce global citizenship and enable your pupils to look at the world through fresh eyes by relating to the real lives of children with very different lifestyles and experience. It will give you educational opportunities that nothing else can.
But school linking is never easy, is always challenging and time-consuming and within even the best links, there will be areas of misunderstanding and bewilderment that will sometimes leave you wondering quite why you're doing it.
The concept that we are all very different people with diverse ideas on almost everything is often why we want to do it in the first place.
Support for your link
We now have more than 40 schools in Swindon and Wiltshire that are linked with a school in the Gambia. Most of those links are active and thriving with regular communication between the schools, joint curriculum work going on, teachers' visits both ways being supported by grants such as Connecting Classrooms and great work going on both sides of the link.
At WGEC we can find you a link with a Gambian school and through the regular visits of staff and supporters of the Marlborough Brandt Group to Gunjur, we can offer you a level of support which would be difficult elsewhere.
We are supported in the Gambia by GOWLA, the Gambian One World Linking Association, and its voluntary director, Ebrima Drammeh, is diligent in his efforts to make sure that Gambian schools enter into school partnerships understanding what they are about – that they are not just a means to divert charitable funds to support the school. He is ruthless in following up schools that haven't communicated for some time with their English counterparts and works assiduously to make the most of what we all realise is a fantastic linking opportunity which can sometimes be hampered by lack of technology that you may find elsewhere in the world.
Setting up a new link
- WGEC membership will cover the cost of finding a link school in the Gambia and for the ongoing support
- Non members will be charged a £50 administration fee for setting up and supporting the link
- WGEC staff are registered by the British Council to deliver training for linking programmes, including Connecting Classrooms and can respond to individual requests for training from schools or clusters.
From time to time, WGEC is approached to find a link with a school elsewhere in the world and though we cannot support these links in the same way, we are always happy to advertise the opportunity for schools via our regular ebulletins.