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Beech Hill Primary School

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International twinning

Beech Hill Primary School was delighted to have formed a link with the charity Sohm Schools Support in 2017 and establish a twinning arrangement with a primary-equivalent school, in The Gambia, West Africa. 

The small, UK-based charity ,raises funds to support the education of pupils attending Sohm Lower Basic School. Beech Hill’s Charity Committee, the School Council and the Senior Leadership Team have worked closely with the charity’s founders, to develop initiatives to develop our pupils’ knowledge of The Gambia and the Sohm youngsters life chances..

 Beech Hill’s goal has been to raise a target of £10,000, by 2020, to support a number of projects in its twin school. And we are nearly there!

In each of the last two years we have held a highly successful “Gambia Day”, where our pupils are encouraged to come to school, on a non-uniform day, wearing clothes in the colours of the Gambian national flag (red, blue and green).

The charity’s founders, Sandra and John Walker have lead assemblies in Beech Hill on the day about our twinned school in Sohm, and all school work during the day has a Gambian theme. Music and drama lessons are about Africa and its local music. Creative writing lessons involve children writing to their friends in the Gambian school. Arts and crafts lessons focus on life in Africa, its villages and wild life.

The school’s parents have enthusiastically embraced our twinning, by generously contributing time and money to our charitable cause.  Some of the mums cook delicious food, sold at the school gates at the end of the school day – with the proceeds going to the Sohm school.

A great deal of fun is had by all in Beech Hill.  Children’s horizons are broadened, as they discover more about different lifestyles and cultures. Pen pals have been made, as letters are posted between the schools and children learn about each others’ lives

The children in Sohm have benefitted greatly too. With our children (and their parents’!) help, we have established a sick room in the Sohm school, rebuilt its library and helped renovate its toilets (they are still not what many of us would wish to use, but they are at least now hygienic and clean!).

Our biggest achievement has been to contribute significantly to the cost of building a new hall for the Sohm school. This is due to open in early 2020, and we look forward to seeing and hearing about it soon. It will be multi-functional, and replace an old, condemned dining hall.

The new hall, in addition to hosting school dinners, will act as the school’s gym, assembly hall and prayer room and will be the village’s only community hall. None of this could have happened, our charity partners tell us, without Beech Hill’s major contribution.