Smiling Valley Intermediate School, South Africa

Third Visit to Smiling Valley School

August 2012

This year's visit to Smiling Valley Farm School was as exciting as ever. There had been many changes since the last visit 16 months ago. New ideas had been introduced since the Principal, Mr Mongezi Mncono, visited England. They now had prefects and class leaders and others who were taking on Student Voice roles, helping to develop their leadership skills. There were displays of work around the school that had been done in both Smiling Valley and by the staff and students of Byrchall. The staff were trying new ideas for teaching and learning.

This year the students in both Smiling Valley and at Byrchall had created textiles to show their understanding of their own and the partner school's culture. Pupils in both schools had worked to create movies of life in their own school. They have both been exploring the rights of people, looking at injustice and working towards a rights' respecting school through the UNICEF initiative.

The pupils in both school have access to computers now, and similar lessons to those in England were delivered to the pupils in South Africa.

The latest work between the 2 schools is about helping to prepare  pupils in both schools to be successful global 21st century citizens. The work has started in both schools. This summer the pupils of Smiling Valley followed the same lesson plans that had been delivered to pupils at Byrchall. They were looking at career aspirations, creating a CV, how to apply for jobs and setting themselves targets, tasks and review points to enable them to reach their aspiration. There were many similarities between the aspirations of the pupils in each school.

The next stages of this joint project were planned and are ready to be started in both schools.

Sport

Both schools are very keen on sport, and in particular football. This year this was recognised in the gift of goal posts to Smiling Valley, plus a generous donation of football kits, that were no longer needed from Newton Town Football Club.

Prize Giving

Smiling Valley held a Prize Giving ceremony, when the parents were invited into the school. The speech was given in English this time, and three English guests presented the prizes.

Both schools recognise the importance of parental support. The parents were extremely proud of their children. There were additional prizes for sport from St. John's CE Primary School in Pemberton. St. John's is part of this partnership, to support the work with the younger pupils in the school. Byrchall High School gave prizes for outstanding academic achievement. Additional prizes had been donated in memory of people, to encourage the pupils of Smiling Valley to work hard to be the best that they can be.

This event followed the same format as Byrchall's Founder's Day which is held at Haydock Racecourse each July. There was a speech by a guest speaker, demonstration of the musical ability of the pupils and an explanation of why these pupils had been chosen to receive these awards. There were awards for effort, achievement, sport and special awards.

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