A group of fifteen Prospects Academies Trust head teachers and teachers, with colleagues from other schools, recently visited Nigeria to set up sustainable links with Lagos schools.
The trip, organised by Jane English, Principal of Paignton Community & Sports Academy, a PAT academy, and Olamipo Oyetunde, from the British Council, included meeting HRM King Oloja of Epe, the Educational Commissioner, Mrs Oladunjoye Olayinka, and other representatives of Lagos State Education Department.
Many of the Nigerian head teachers and their staff, dressed in stunning traditional outfits, joined the UK group to visit the King of Epe. The fascinating trip across Lagos State gave the visitors a chance to see life in Lagos and get acquainted with their generous hosts.
On arrival at the King's Palace, the guests were warmly welcomed and then treated to a magnificent display of traditional music and dance. They were joined by over 100 Nigerian head teachers who are part of the School Leadership Mentoring Programme, which Jane English headed up last year, as well as local chiefs, two other kings and Lagos officials. Many locals packed into the courtyard to watch and listen.
The group visited Lekki beach to spend some time with Nigerian staff, and met the Director of the British Council in Nigeria, David Higgs. They also visited local schools, with each school making a great effort to organise a traditional welcome of music and dance which delighted the group.
Jane said, "Each visit was exciting as you never quite knew what was going to happen next, from 'Would you like to address our 500 pupils?' to 'We would like you to teach this class of 180 pupils', many of whom were sitting on the floor. The Nigerians went out of their way to ensure we felt safe, and were well cared for.
Everyone developed quality links with a Lagos school, which will increase international understanding in our young people".
The PAT Academies taking part were Paignton Community & Sports, Curledge Street, Bexhill and Gloucester. Staff from six other schools joined colleagues from PAT on the visit.