In February 2017, Mrs Atkins and Miss Atkinson visited Kimilili FYM Primary School accompanied by School Governor Mr Andy Baker. The purpose of the visit was to share our experiences as Education professionals and learn from each other. We also hoped to further strengthen the links between the schools. The Hollinswood team were able to spend time with children throughout the school, from Nursery up to Standard Eight (the equivalent of our Year 8 in High School). The children and staff were extremely welcoming and hospitable and went out of their way to showcase the school and the local area. Our staff also had the opportunity to spend time with the school Chairman and governors and developed a better understanding of the challenges involved in running a successful primary school in Kenya. The whole team were impressed by the resourcefulness and professionalism of both staff and governors and by their open attitude to new ideas and willingness to share their knowledge and experience.
The Deputy Head Teacher (Mr David Khate Wanyonyi) of our partner school visited Hollinswood in April 2018. David is the third member of staff from Kimilili to spend time in Hollinswood since our partnership began. Here he talks about the mutual benefits of our partnership.
"Allow me first to appreciate the brain child of our partnership Hollinswood and Kimilili FYM Primary. It has been of great importance to our schools. Our school has benefited a lot. Since 2012 our partnership started with a visit of Mr Glennn Atkinson. Our school grew in population from 600 to 1032 now. The performance has tremendously improved. The school has been the best in Kimilili sub county of 43 schools since to date. Last year has been the best as we took 10 pupils to national secondary schools. All this is credited to the partnership. I personally gained a lot when you gave me an opportunity to visit your school. I learned much in connection to pupil’s government, administrative and management skills. I won't forget the lovely class teaching skills from Hollinswood staff members. The staff meeting organization was a thump higher. Actually I have good experience that will help me run Kimilili FYM. I, David register my sincere gratitude for the hospitality I received when I visited the school. May I thank Mrs Atkins for wonderfully taking care of me. Am humbled. I hope we shall keep the partnership alive. I promise to be part of Hollinswood Primary School and Hollinswood to be part of Kimilili FYM school."
Thanks, David Khate Wanyonyi
Mr David (as the children called him) spent time with children throughout the school during his stay. He contributed his time and knowledge to share information about the lives of children in Kenya and about how Kimilili as a town is changing and developing. He also shared traditional Kenyan stories with the children. His contributions helped to directly support the teaching of our Primary Curriculum and his interaction with the children helped to broaden their understanding of the wider world, and their place within it.
In the past keeping in regular contact with Kimilili has been a little difficult, but the school now has limited access to wifi and is able to make use of social media, making it much easier to share “live” news and events.
Since his return to Kenya, David has been in touch regularly, allowing us to share news from Kimilili with the Hollinswood community, via our twitter feed. For the first time this summer also, Kimilili FYM participated in our school sports day—a tradition that we hope to develop and sustain in future years. We will also be seeking other ways in which the two schools can work together for the mutual benefit of our communities.
Recently, Kimilili FYM Primary School has become so successful, that pupil numbers have swelled considerably. The school now has a growing number of children who attend as boarders, and overall numbers are so great that the school has outgrown it’s current buildings. A fundraising drive is currently underway in Kenya to fund the construction of eight new classrooms and additional toilet and shower blocks. We will be following the progress of this project closely.
As funds allow, we hope that additional staff from Hollinswood and Kimilili will have the opportunity to visit each other, to develop their teaching skills and further strengthen the valuable link between our schools and communities.