Update 2013 - 14 with details below of the Schools Link work
Original aims (launch May 1999): UK Charity No: 1087138
to support the development of educational links with Jamaica
to research and provide education and training in relating to gaining respect and recognition for Jamaican language and culture
Widening Horizons: development of links between UK and Ja Schools, Ministry of Education and Local Authorities – especially Birmingham and Region 5, but also Wolverhampton and Hanover, The Shetland Islands and Moneague area, North Wales with Region 6 (Clarendon) and South Wales with Region 6 (St Catherine)/
Research: Managed initial UK research into recognition of Caribbean Languages through conferences and other approaches eg Summer School at UWI in Ja in 2007
Management: successful HLF “Rastafari: Roots and Development in the West Midlands” Project and established “Rastafari Heritage” group see www.rastafariwestmidlands.co.uk
Recognition: for Jamaican Language and Culture – working with Prof Hubert Devonish at the Jamaican Language Unit, University of the West Indies and the UK Institute of Linguists
Awards: included gained CILT Languages Award for Jamaican Language and Culture
Adult Literacy: had close links with the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JfLL – was JAMAL) – providing computers, consultancy and resources
Training Trainers: Managed DfID link visits for 4 years to enable sharing of good practice in adult education in Family Learning, Workbased Learning and Use of IT in Learning Centres
Celebrating success: Two Jamaica 2K team members: Joslyn Ross (2003) and John McAnuff (2008) recognised as the Senior Learners of the Year in UK. In 2011 Liz Millman was given a Special Recognition Award by AJN for Contribution to support for Jamaicans’ and the Jamaican community.
Successful fund finding: Awards for All, Heritage Lottery and other funding
Raised awareness: about Jamaican publications for children and adults
Establishment of “J2K Education and Enterprise”
Supported the establishment of the North Wales Jamaica Society and exploring the development of the South Wales Jamaica Society.
Current position (August 2013):
Developing “Widening Horizons” school partnerships between Jamaica and UK, working with DfID and British Council and Jamaican Ministry of Education Regions, supported by Learning Links International - initially between UK schools in Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Shropshire, Staffordshire, North Wales and schools in the Regions of Jamaica
Developing “J2K Education and Enterprise” as a franchaise holder for Starlight OCN courses, as well as the Institute of Wellbeing and has access to a training centre in Docklands, as well as in Birmingham also see the link to: www.maximisedtraining.co.uk
Supporting the “Caribbean and African Languages Network” and “Learning Links International” on “Respect and Recognition for Caribbean and African Languages and Culture” - J2K is the lead organisation for Jamaican in the UK with links to the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies
Supporting “Rastafari Heritage” to carry on raising awareness following the HLF project and their work to support introduction of Rastafari in Chaplaincies across the UK the Prison Service
Working with Learning Links International linking with Jamaican Professionals and Artistes including Yasus Afari, with promotion of school workshops on Jamaica with poetry, language and culture, and with Prof Fred Hickling re: workshops on Mental Health issues
Reviving links with Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (adult literacy)
Developing the role of the North Wales Jamaica Society in co-ordinating Black History Month in North Wales and in researching and developing Jamaica / North Wales links
Stephen Brooks (Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Millman (Development Director) email@example.com phone 07711 569 489
Special Education – developing links between UK and Jamaican schools
A group from UK will be visiting Jamaica from 10 – 17th May 2013 for a scoping visit to explore opportunities to develop links between Special Education professionals and students from UK and Jamaica who have learning difficulties and disabilities.
The team will meet Miss June Hamiliton, Assistant Chief Education Officer at the Special Education Unit at the Ministry of Education in Kingston and the Special Education Team, before visiting a range of schools in Kingston and other Parishes during the week.
The UK delegation will include Graham Hardy, Head Teacher and Rhys Hancock, Assisant Head Teacher from Calthorpe Special School in Birmingham, as well as Liz Millman from “Jamaica 2000” the JA / UK educational links charity and Spicy Fingers, well known Jamaican UK poet, storyteller and drummer!
The team will be making presentations about their work as well as discussing options for links and professional development.
This fits well with the MoE Policy Priorities 2013:
1. Early Childhood and Special Education 2. Teacher Quality
3. ICT and Media in Education
4. Tertiary Education
It will be a challenging week for the Special Education Team as the officers will be in the field conducting post test activities. However the UK team want to see the reality of how things work in Jamaica and will appreciate any support to enable them to make good use of this opportunity.
The team also want to meet with potential funders and sponsors to seek support to get teachers and
officer visits set up to come to UK, where a warm welcome and accommodation can be provided at Calthorpe Schools International Centre. The Calthorpe website is www.calthorpe.bham.sch.uk .
The Special Education Unit is pleased to support this initiative to forge links with schools in other countries, because of the opportunity to explore avenues to enhance the delivery of programmes and services to learners with special needs. At present a great deal of work is going on with the development of a curriculum for children with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities. Bringing together specialists with great experience, knowledge and expertise will assist in advancing this process and be of great benefit to both parties. Further collaboration can then be identified in areas of interest that can be of mutual advantage.
Graham and Rhys will also visit Woodlawn Special School to meet Mrs Snowball, and her staff and students, to create a link between their two schools with as it is in the Birmingham / Region 5 partnership.
Background to this visit:
For 4 years the "Widening Horizons" team supported the British Council with their school links between UK schools and Jamaican schools. However British Council funding has now been pulled from the Caribbean, and after discussions with the Ministry of Education in Jamaica, “Jamaica 2000” have agreed to give our ongoing efforts to ensure that existing links can be supported and new links created.
However this gives us the potential to set our own agenda and develop linking strategies that will provide professional development opportunities for staff , as well as support working towards developing relevant curriculum based projects, with resources and support for schools. As we have seen to date that there can be great benefits and the added value is measurable in increased knowledge and changed perceptions, as well as building confidence, understanding and self-worth for teachers and students respectively.
The UK no longer has centralised advice and support services any longer, and so UK schools in Birmingham are taking the Special Education lead directly, as Birmingham is working hard to develop a legacy project based on the link opportunities we have created with Region 5 schools, working closely with Mrs Nadine Leachman and her team, closely supported by Mrs Margaret Brissett Bolt. This partnership not only promotes school to school links, but is also leading this development.
As we work to develop links, we see that Special Education has an important place. Graham Hardy, Head Teacher of Calthorpe Specialist Sports College in Birmingham took up this opportunity enthusiastically and he has a great deal of experience in International linking. He is very interested in developing new partnerships and exploring possibilities for the exchange of ideas and skills for Professional Development.
Calthorpe Specialist Sports College is an amazing school with excellent facilities for children with Special Educational Needs. The school caters for children with a wide range of educational difficulties, ranging from moderate, severe and complex needs. In addition, some have specific physical, sensory, behavioural or autistic conditions, all of which require additional adult support or specialised facilities.
The school also has an exceptionally successful international link programme and has its own well designed facility to host overseas visitors on the school premises. Mrs Anderson from McIntosh Memorial Primary School in Mandeville and her colleague stayed at Calthorpe during their recent visit to the UK and Mrs Ivoline Fletcher from Region 5, also visited the school when she was in UK last year.
For more information please contact the Widening Horizons Team: c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
Also check out www.wideninghorizons.co.uk and www.ukjamaicaschoollinks.com
Report from Widening Horizons 2013 visit of JAMAICA 2000 delegation to Jamaica
– May 2013
Firstly many thanks go to everyone in the Special Education Unit, the Special Schools we visited and the Region 5 team who warmly welcomed our team and provided hospitality. Our thanks go to everyone involved for the interest and support given during the visit.
This is about the about the tenth exchange visit of small groups or individuals involved in school linking between Jamaica and UK under “Widening Horizons”. These have been visits funded by the Global Schools Partnership or by UK schools, individuals and “Jamaica 2000”in the last 3 years.
This time the UK team included: Graham Hardy, Head Teacher of Calthorpe School and Sports College and Rhys Hancock, Assistant Head at Calthorpe, Liz Millman, Co-ordinator of “Widening Horizons” programme and Spicy Fingers, Jamaican Poet and Drummer.
The Terms of Reference for the visit were:
To explore possible work/support opportunities with the Ministry of Education Special Education Team
To support the forging of a partnership between Calthorpe Special Education School and Sports College, Birmingham, and Woodlawn Special School in Region 5 Jamaica
To review and re-orientate the Widening Horizons programme
The Aims of this visit relating to Special Education Links were:
To introduce the Special Education representatives from Calthorpe Special Education School and Sports College in Birmingham to explore possible work/support with the Ministry of Education: Special Education Unit, led by Miss June Hamilton
To arrange for the team from Calthorpe Special Education School and Sports College to spend time at Woodlawn Special Education School to forge a link between Woodlawn Special School and Calthorpe Special Education School and Sports College, with a draft plan drawn up
To consider possibilities to support/build partnerships between other Special Schools in Birmingham and Jamaica.
The Aims of this visit relating to the Jamaican Widening Horizons Programme were:
To explore the scope and objectives to re-orientate and develop the Widening Horizon Programme by:
Meeting Director of Education in Region 5, the Community Relations Education Officer in Region 5, and other relevant individuals involved to date as well as other key people to review and re-orientate the Widening Horizons programme, based on the lead taken by Region 5 by Director of Education Mrs Nadine Leachman and new CREO Mark Smith.
Exploring possibility of reviving interest in Widening Horizons Welsh links with Region 6, meeting with Director of Education, Mrs Claudette Clarke and new CREO Kereen Reid
Re-establishing links with CREO in Region 4: Mrs Hyacinth Sterne and presenting the joint Cacoon / Uplands Poetry Book: “Building a Bridge of Friendship”
Contacting new CREO in Region 2: Sharon Hunt to explore interest
Contacting Moneague area/ Shetland Isles link: Mrs Edith Hibbert, to make link with CREO in Region 3
Visiting some schools interested in registering with the Widening Horizon Programme to explore what they want to get out of a new style link / school partnership
To make a presentation of 100 copies of the “Building a Bridge of Friendship” Poetry Book to Cacoon School in Region 4
To arrange a presentation to John Austin School in Pennants Clarendon (Region 6) from North Wales Jamaica Society by using the new approach being promoted of supplying items through the National Education Trust (NET)
To identify possible partners for International Lottery and other UK funding possibilities eg NET
To make an initial link with the new Core Curriculum Working Group to see if an international dimension can be identified in the Core Curriculum, with reference to Diaspora Studies.
To bring letters and items from St Thomas Cof E School in Birmingham to McIntosh Memorial Primary School
To pilot the creation of a Spanglefish Website with McIntosh Memorial Primary School
Background to visit
The “Jamaica 2000” team led by Mrs Liz Millman, has been working to support the development of UK / Jamaica school partnerships for almost 5 years. Initially this was at the request of the British Council to help them increase the take up of opportunities under their Global School Partnerships programme. This was successful and a number of schools and Regions made links with schools and Local Authorities in UK. However in June 2012 the British Council withdrew the offer of support through GSP for Caribbean Schools.
During the past year the “Jamaica 2000” team continued to work on school links under the working project name of “Widening Horizons” and 14 staff from UK schools visited Jamaican schools, and 5 staff from Jamaica visited schools in UK. However many UK schools dropped out because there was no longer GSP funding and support. Jamaica schools also pulled back because of difficulties in developing links without GSP funding.
In response to the Jamaican Ministry of Education priorities re: Special Education, Liz Millman contacted the Jamaican Special Education Unit to enquire if they would be interested in meeting the specialist Special Needs team from Calthorpe Schools and Sports College who were planning to come to Jamaica to develop a link with The Woodlawn Special School. This offer was welcomed and a plan for the visit to include meeting at the Special Education Unit and visiting a range of Special Schools was agreed.
During her two week stay, Liz Millman arranged a series of meetings and visits to undertake consultation with schools and Ministry officials to review the current position relating to the take up and future of international schools links.
It seems an interesting set of circumstances have come together at this time:
The transformation of the Jamaican Education System is evolving with the clear 2030 vision
MOE Strategic Objective 5 is: to build partnerships
The withdrawal of British Council Global Schools funding support from June 2012 - leaving a legacy of links and expertise
The need for refurnishing and better equipping schools in Jamaica for the 21st Century
The need for the Ministry of Education to support children of Jamaican heritage in UK, US and Canada to improve the current lower educational standards of many and give a clear understanding of their Jamaican-ness. There is a large market here for sales of publications.
The establishment of the National Education Trust with the concept of "Adopt a school" which could well be complemented by "International School Links"
The rewriting of the Jamaican Schools Core Curriculum with more focus on Global understanding, with potential for Diaspora Studies
The refocus of our UK based organisation "JAMAICA 2000" on supporting the development of UK / Jamaica School Links, including Special Schools.
Additionally the interest from Calthorpe School and Sports College to add a link with Jamaica along with their other international schools links with South Africa, Sri Lanka and China, as well as a range of European countries, complements the Ministry priority being given to Special Education currently.
Special Educational Links
Calthorpe is an exceptional organisation with very high standards which has resulted in 4 Outstanding Ofsted Reports and Calthorpe recently gained “Teaching School” status for training teachers see http://www.calthorpe.bham.sch.uk
The link from Calthorpe will initially focus on Woodlawn School in Region 5, as part of the ongoing development of Region 5 and Birmingham Schools Links started in 2011. This will give a base and stability for wider developments. They are drafting ideas and proposals, as well as drafting a Memorandum of Understanding for the Woodlawn / Calthorpe link with a 3 year plan initially.
The wider options for support and links with the Special Education Unit are also being considered to agree a way forward for the Calthorpe team, along with other Special Schools in Birmingham, to explore joint professional development opportunities and possible secondment of staff between schools in UK and Jamaica, and Jamaica and UK.
Proposals to develop Jamaican International School Links
The Ministry of Education takes a lead to be the central hub to support Jamaican schools in developing a range of international school links and the professional development opportunities that can come from this.
Develop and pilot international school links and the professional development opportunities through the development of the “Widening Horizons” approach, initially focussed on UK school links and Special Education in Birmingham.
The Ministry of Education includes consideration and support of the needs of children of Jamaican Heritage in the Jamaican Diaspora.
The aim of the review undertaken by Liz Millman, the co-ordinator of UK support for Jamaican school links, in discussion with colleagues in Jamaica, was to explore how things could be better arranged, managed and organised in future to capitalise on the benefits of school linking for schools in Jamaica and schools in the UK. A wide range of people were involved in these discussions, mainly from the Region 5 Team who are spearheading and providing support for developments in school linking including: Nadine Leachman, Director of Region 5 and Mark Smith, Region 5 CREO, Education Officers, Principals and a teacher who had visited schools in UK recently. In Region 6: Claudette Clarke, Director Region 6 and Kereen Reid Region 6 CREO, and in Region 4: Hyacinth Sterne, CREO Region 6 and Principal Carol Grant, plus Miss June Hamilton and colleagues from the Special Education Unit. Unfortunately it was not possible to meet with the CEO or Permanent Secretary because of the Ministers involvement in the Sectoral Debate.
It is clear that currently it is a good time and a great opportunity for schools in Jamaica to take a fresh look at school links and partnerships. The National Education Trust is now set up and there is a legacy of links and expertise to capitalise on since the withdrawal of British Council Global Schools Partnerships funding support since June 2012.
Out of the discussions it became clear that in future Jamaican schools can make links with countries all around the world, including the Diaspora and the Commonwealth, where schools would be delighted to have opportunities to use technologies to link with schools in Jamaica, as Jamaican has such a high profile and intrigue internationally.
Jamaica can capitalise on the legacy of expertise and experience in linking between UK and Jamaican schools, and the good professional and personal links that exist. Strong friendships have developed and it seems there is a real determination and recognition of the value of school links by a nucleus of schools in the UK and Jamaica who do not want this initiative to flounder. There is also recognition by the Ministry of Education in Jamaica of the importance of maintaining these links that add value to the educational experience of children in Jamaica and professional development for teachers and school managers.
Jamaica also has had a range of other educational links with UK e.g. the JAASP project and the current advisory support for the re-writing of the Core Curriculum. These need to be brought together to advantage developments. For example: the CIDT at the University of Wolverhampton, has offered support to look at funding possibilities.
Activities continue to support schools with current links with UK schools, working through the “Widening Horizons” approach being piloted by Region 5 and schools in Birmingham, with Region 6 and schools in North and South Wales also taking on the challenge.
Other school links are forged during the next year with Jamaica and UK schools to pilot and test out ideas, including a programme of joint project ideas and activities that all schools can engage in, related to the Jamaican Core Curriculum.
The Ministry of Education / NET works considers taking a lead over the next few years to put Jamaica at the hub of school linking, with schools in Jamaican Diaspora countries and schools in the Commonwealth, Africa and other countries eg China and Japan. The invitation to schools can be extended initially through the High Commissions in Jamaica and the Commonwealth Secretariat, with support from Learning Links International*.
The “Widening Horizons” approach is developed to include termly projects and activities that fit with the Core Curriculum, that schools can be involved in on an ongoing basis.
The Community Relations Education Officers, with support of the Regional Directors, take responsibility for promoting international schools links and registering all links in the Region and participating in the online.
The development of UK / Jamaican links relating to Special Education is managed by the Jamaican Special Education Unit through the Calthorpe / Woodlawn partnership, with a joint Steering / Advisory Sub Group, as part of the joint Steering / Advisory Group** for the Widening Horizons School Links Programme.
The needs of children of Jamaican Heritage in the Jamaican Diaspora are explored and supported to enable them to feel “fully Jamaican” with an understanding and love for Jamaica.
UK based “Jamaica 2000” is prepared to continued to provide support and expertise on a “no cost to Jamaica” basis and would be interested to explore an increase in take up of volunteering activities in education in Jamaica by UK based professionals, as well as supporting secondments of Jamaican teachers in UK.
*Liz Millman and colleagues have set up “Learning Links International CIC” (LLI) as a Community Interest Company to provide advice and support for developments like this. LLI has recently been recognised for “Investing in Volunteers” for innovation approaches to engaging people in voluntary activities for personal benefit and collective gain. This is a sister organisation to “Jamaica 2000”.
Consultation with the Chief Education Officer, Permanent Secretary and Minister of Education by Nadine Leachman, June Hamilton and Liz Millman
Set a programme for the Joint Steering / Advisory Group Meeting for School Linkss** and the joint Steering / Advisory Sub Group for Special Education
Prepare a formal proposal to consideration by funders
Further explore the needs of children of Jamaican Heritage in the Jamaican Diaspora in UK initially
Explore the possibilities for use of Volunteers from UK in Jamaican classrooms
NB Obviously this is a new journey of discovery and we are without a road map as yet, so we need to know how best to fit ideas and potential, with the Ministries ideas and remit. We are also aware that you have other international links and we only represent a link from UK.
** We have discussed and feel it appropriate to establish a Joint Steering / Advisory Group that holds meetings in Jamaica and in UK every month, with open agendas and shared minutes from each meeting. This is to support and co-ordinate moves forward for International School Links.
At the Wrap-Up Meeting held in Region 5 we agreed to a proposal to have a sub group for Special Education Links to give a structure for negotiations with the Special Education Unit.
This report includes:
Final Visit Report
Proposal for next steps re: Support for Special Education – to follow from the Calthorpe Team visit and meetings with the Special Education Unit and Woodlawn School
Proposal for creating a Jamaican led approach to Jamaican International School Links based on “Widening Horizons” approach
Recommendations for next steps
Appendix 1: Programme (separate file)
Appendix 2: Adapted PESTLE analysis to support the rationale behind moving to the Jamaican International School Links approach
Appendix 2: Issues explored using an adaptation of the PESTLE analysis
NB the move for Jamaica to take the lead on international school links can be taken gradually, working informally initially until funding can be identified and include the input of volunteer input and expertise from UK and Jamaican communities.
Links with UK schools can pilot this new approach, which can then be widened to include schools in other Jamaican Diaspora countries, the Commonwealth, Africa and other countries.
Reflections and comments
relating to the current and future Jamaican position
Reflections and comments
relating to the current and future UK position
International School links strategies need to be agreed by the Ministry of Education and be logged with the Permanent Secretary. Clear procedures needs to be in place.
This seems to be the time when Jamaica needs an independent approach to international school linking, and not to have a dependence on projects led by other countries.
Jamaica has a responsibility for Jamaicans in the Diaspora and currently there are more children of Jamaican heritage overseas studying in schools in UK, US and Canada than in schools on the island.
UK interests do not seem to be focussed on the Caribbean at present, as the UK seems to have so many other international priorities.
Schools in UK have a great deal of autonomy and Head Teachers manage their own budgets and the decisions for their school.
Many schools seen as “Outstanding” by Ofsted have a range of international school links.
Jamaica currently has serious economic pressures and any additional activity needs to be at least cost neutral and the Government would appreciate any donations of school equipment and resources.
NB This proposal is NOT about Jamaica replicating the GSP model of providing funding for exchange visits. This is a low cost / no cost alternative using technology and projects integrated into the Core Curriculum.
UK Government is making cut backs at present and the withdrawal of the invitation to Caribbean schools to be part of GSP is presented as part of these cuts.
It seems there are schools in the UK who will fund their own exchange visits. UK Schools will need to be invited to link with schools in Jamaica.
Many Jamaican’s still have a strong feeling relating to Britain as the “Mother Country”.
Many other Jamaican’s feel the need to develop a more equitable relationship with Britain and in particular taking responsibility for their own nations plans and Diaspora responsibilities.
Jamaican children in the Diaspora need access to quality resources to enable them to keep their Jamaican identity and understand their history and culture, as well as understanding their African heritage.
Children living in Jamaica need to understand our shared histories, understanding the historical links with Britain and also to know about Britain and other countries today.
The UK now sees itself as a “superdiverse” nation with dramatic increases in the range of peoples now living in UK, which means that our schools face great challenges to manage maintaining and raising standards in attainment.
At one time the population in UK of Caribbean heritage was seen as an area of focus for support, but in recent years this has been overtaken by other challenges, and yet the underachievement of Black boys, in particular, remains a concern and an issue that needs addressing.
Children living in UK need to understand our shared histories: in this context the need is about understanding the history of the Trans Atlantic Trade and Jamaicans support for UK after the war and since then.
Jamaican schools are now gaining computers and other items of technology, this brings many potential advantages, but also challenges for staff who need training to enable children to learn about and make safe use of communication technologies.
UK schools are very well equipped with ICT and most teaching staff have good levels of competence.
However children need to learn about and use technology, with the safe use of communication technologies.
Schools links provide excellent opportunities for encouraging the use of technologies for communication and to open international communication channels using email, Skype, postal services, and other social media to build communication bridges between schools, enabling children to learn how to safely communicate with new friends: preparing young people for the technologies of today and tomorrow.
As climate change now affects us all in different ways, the current generation in schools need to understand about their responsibilities and their abilities to act positively based on understanding. This gives an excellent opportunity for joint project work with children in other countries to explore environmental issues and solutions.
There are opportunities for creating a specific focus on “reasons for writing” assisting the raising literacy and attainment levels with joint activities including letter writing, report writing, creative presentations and poetry, plus maths etc.
Jamaica’s focus on in the past few years on recognising national identity through initiatives like Culture Agents and Jamaica Day have been very successful in creating a strong and clear “Brand Jamaica”
School links will enable Jamaican children to tell their own story of Jamaica to children in the Diaspora and in future to other children across the Commonwealth and in other countries.
Jamaican Ministry text books and resources from JIS etc need to be made available to UK schools and schools in the Diaspora.
This project needs curriculum projects devised by Jamaican teachers in consultation with UK teachers and education advisers, that will link with the new Core Curriculum.
In the countries of the UK there are different perspectives on cultural identity. Wales and Scotland have strong identities that have developed clearly in the last 50 years, eg many schools in Wales now teach in Welsh.
Children in all British countries will benefit from articulating their Britishness or Englishness, Welshness etc to children in Jamaica, who are so proud and able to share their Jamaican-ness.
In UK we have already piloted exploring the use of creative approaches involving the arts and Jamaican artistes, poets, storytellers and musicians in classrooms: based on the Jamaican “Culture Agent” approach.
The development of a range of resources that can be sold to schools in UK to include maps, flags, and items typical to Jamaica, music and children’s books: as well as guidance and support for teachers.
British Schools may opt to join the “Adopt a School” initiative of the National Education Trust to provide ongoing support that will enhance provision at the Jamaican school.
Jamaican Boarding Schools can generate income by offering Summer School opportunities to UK children of Jamaican Heritage
There is potential to organise opportunities for UK students to stay in Jamaica