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Kenya Partnership Fundraising

Some History:

Heron Hill has had a link with Open Arms Academy, Kenya, for over six years. Our school was initially part of a British Council project, ‘Connecting Classrooms’, and benefitted from funding that subsidised staff from each school to visit the other. Five members of our staff were involved in various visits, and we welcomed two Kenyan teachers to Heron Hill as well. However, the ‘Connecting Classrooms’ project finished in 2021 and there has been no further funding for such visits.

During the Covid pandemic, we maintained our link where possible through virtual connections online and by sharing videos and pictures between our two schools. As the world has opened up again, we have been keen to strengthen our connection through further face-to-face staff visits; two members of staff travelled to Kenya in 2023 and two more, plus one of our governors, will visit in 2024.

The importance of staff visits:

As there is no longer any funding from the British Council, these visits, which take place largely in the school holidays, have been mostly self-funded by those that travel. As a school, we recognise the value of teachers travelling to work in a different culture, making lasting connections with colleagues in our partner school, sharing teaching practices together, and learning from each other. Staff members are transformed by their experience, gaining a larger perspective on the world and becoming more globally-minded. This, in turn, has an important impact on our pupils, enabling them to become more globally aware and increasing their understanding of the interconnected nature of our global society.

Our dual purpose in fundraising (2024):

We are keen to continue this link and to support our staff who wish to give up their holiday time in order to support their Kenyan colleagues. Our fundraising has always been focused on making it possible for staff to travel, in recognition of the important impact this has on our children’s global learning. As we move into a new phase of our link, we are hoping to fundraise for a dual purpose:

1) To subsidise the cost of teachers travelling between the UK and Kenya – making it possible for more staff to participate: both for our own staff, and hopefully in the future, for Kenyan colleagues. It costs around £1300 - £1400 for a staff member to spend a week of their own holiday time working alongside colleagues at Open Arms, including costs of international and internal flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, accommodation, administration fees, etc. Whilst staff might take the option to also add a few days of holiday to their trip, this is obviously a large amount of money for people to find.


2) To build a fund that could support various projects linked to our main focus areas of music and the environment, particularly where access to funding is a challenge for our partner school.


Our Kenya fundraising policy (the ‘Kenya Fund’):

1.            Each year we will aim to raise enough money to offer support to each member of staff or the governing body who travels to Kenya, normally to an upper limit of £250 per person. They are, however, obviously not obliged to take it.

2.            Any money raised above and beyond the amount needed for staff subsidies will be added to the project fund, and allocated as decided between the two schools in support of their projects each year, with a particular focus on supporting Open Arms with Music and/or Environmental projects.

3.            Going forward, we may wish to assign some of our fundraising also to subsidise the cost of Kenyan teachers wishing to travel to the UK to share expertise.

4.            Any sponsorship money raised from activities undertaken in or outside of school to support this Kenya school partnership, will be passed onto the Kenya Fund held by Heron Hill, and managed from there, by an agreed committee including a member of the school’s senior leadership team.