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Education For All Morocco and UK schools

by Andrew Dimberline, Bristol Grammar School (BGS)

Health warning—a gentle reminder that what is presented here applies to BGS and while I am happy for it to be used to assist in running a trip and activities, it is important that what you do is in line with your own school (LEA) policies and personal competence and experience.

I am very happy to be contacted at the following e-mail address if there is anything I can help with. It would be helpful to have any ideas/comments from other teachers.

Download this page plus appendices in a handy zipped file

Contents

  1. Author
  2. Introduction
  3. Rationale
  4. Suggestions for how to run an Education For All trip
  5. Practicalities
  6. Fund-raising
  7. Fund-raising advice
  8. Top 11 tips
  9. Activities for children in Morocco
  10. Ideas for developing links
  11. Appendices
    1. Launch letters (please e-mail for these)
    2. Risk assessment
    3. Kit List

Author

I am currently Head of Leadership Development and EVC at Bristol Grammar School. A large co-ed independent day school. Before that I was Head of Geography at BGS and have been at the School since 1996. I started teaching at Wolverley High School (Hereford and Worcestershire LEA) in 1989 and my first trip to Morocco was with students from Wolverley in October 1995. I have gradually progressed through mountain leading awards and currently hold the International Mountain Leader award (www.baiml.org).

Introduction

My first ‘adventurous’ school trip as a teacher was to Morocco in October 1995 with a company called Discover Limited—we were, I think, the first school group to stay at the Kasbah du Toubkal. I can’t remember how I had come into contact with them—possibly an advert in a copy of Teaching Geography. The trip went incredibly well, a real life-changing experience for all of us who had taken part and for me the start of a passion for ‘expeditions’ with students that has taken me to some amazing places around the world.

For myself and the colleagues who have supported me this has been a highlight of our careers so far. In addition to the immense satisfaction from being involved in a project which you can see making a difference you also learn a great deal about build teams, motivation, organisation and delegation. You will see your students change as they progress with fund-raising and the experience out here will provide life-long memories for them. You will also gain skills of developing world travel and managing groups in what is a relatively easy country. It is also good preparation for longer trips to more challenging destinations.

Rationale for a trip of this type

The popular month-long school expeditions have an emphasis on trekking and mountaineering but often include some sort of community project with children. For us these have always been a great success and our students often learn a huge amount in the process—particularly about themselves, their lives and how much we can learn from others. On return we have usually continued to fund-raise for these projects, which have included an orphanage in Ulaan Baatar and a School in Ladakh. However, the remote location means that long-term links are difficult and the chance of returning remote.

I had kept in touch with Discover Ltd over the years and when I found out about the Education For All project I realised that here was an opportunity to run a smaller scale trip, develop long-term links with a project that was easier to return to, and still give our students the large expedition experience of fund-raising, planning and working with young children. There is also a niche here for those students who may not be able to commit to the 18 months of preparation, training and raising the several thousand pounds of expenditure that the large expeditions involve. An 8 to 10-day trip with a cost of less than £1000 and two terms of preparation is a much less daunting prospect.

Suggestions for how to run an Education For All trip

The first trip was launched in September 2006 for an 8-day trip at Easter 2007. I asked students to apply for a place on the trip and in their application to state how they would raise £200 for the project. A place on the trip was conditional on being able to raise these funds.

I held a meeting for students and their parents where the aims of the trip and the fund-raising expectations were set out. The ‘rules’ were that how the students raise the cost of the trip is up to them but the additional £200 must come from fund-raising events, not one ‘parental donation’.

I limited the group to 12 students and in October 2006 our fund-raising began. Fund-raising varied from one individual ‘climbing Toubkal’ on a climbing wall to jewellery stands at craft shows, supermarket bag packs, refreshments for numerous events, organising evenings out and using the school site as a car park for Christmas shoppers. My bit was a sponsored ‘escape from School’ where a colleague and I were sponsored to walk/run as far away as we could in a weekend! The key I think is little and often punctuated by few big events. My target of £2400 for the group was exceeded in the first term and in total we raised £4200. Parents also became involved and helped support the project.

One of the benefits of fund-raising for this project is that 100% of the funds raised go to Education For All, often in other expeditions/sports tours funds are raised largely to subsidise the cost for the students taking part and this makes asking for donations much more difficult.

I think fund-raising provides many great learning opportunities for students. No one gives money easily—they need to learn to gently persuade. Students also learn that making plans is easy but putting them into action is much harder. The change from ‘saying’ and ‘promising’ to actually ‘doing’. Along the way they learn a lot about themselves, leadership and what makes a successful team.

Our trip was for 8 days at Easter. We spent 3 great days in Asni, helping with the foundations for the boarding house and playing with the local children. It was clear that this was a project with the support of local people and we were welcomed very warmly. The team realised the importance of their planning when faced with around 60 children to ‘entertain’ for an afternoon. I was delighted in how quickly relationships were made and barriers broken down. We then spent some time trekking in the area around Imlil before a return to the Kasbah, not the first return for me, but the first with a school group for nearly 12 years. Marrakech is one of the great cities of the world and a fantastic place to finish the trip.

The students and my accompanying member of staff all said it was a real highlight in their School careers and I returned ready to begin work on the trip for 2008. It will be great to see the boarding house in place and the first girls in residence. My ideas for this trip are to start to make links between the girls at the boarding house and girls at Bristol Grammar. We may also be able to help with educational resources—particularly for teaching English. One of the great things about this project is that we can return every year and the links should grow stronger—Insh’Allah

Practicalities—How to run the trip

The appendix contains all my letters home and other administration required.

I have found that getting students to apply for a place on the trip makes it different from other trips and provides a commitment to fund-raising.

I also think a long build-up time is very important both to allow students to budget for the cost of the trip and also to give time for fund-raising to be effective.

We do not formally link the trip with any part of our curriculum but our students are asked to write about it on their School CV. I am sure that schools introducing the International Baccalaureate could include the whole trip in the 50 hour Service element very successfully.

Fundraising

My normal timescale is to make students aware of the trip in July and then formally launch it at the start of the Autumn Term. This allows students to think about their fund-raising over the Summer and make a quick start in the Autumn.

The fund-raising target I set is £200 per student taking part. How they go about raising this is down to them. A team could organise one big event but we tend to find the pattern below emerges for most team members:

  • 1 personal sponsored event—a run/swim/cycle
  • 1 or more whole team events—Christmas car parking; promises auction; raffle; supermarket bag pack
  • Several smaller group events—organised in twos, threes etc—refreshments for school events; cake sales; stalls at craft fairs.

Fundraising Advice

One thing we have found very successful is an evening meeting with team and parents very early in the process. In this we present fund-raising ideas, get students from previous trips to talk about what worked for them and make clear what our role is. We also go through (and ask parents to agree to) our statement on consent to take part in fund-raising activities ‘remotely/unsupervised’—see appendix.

It is also good to go through your school’s own policy on fund-raising with the students and parents. For example, at BGS we have a charity committee (staff and students) and our two annual non-uniform days are decided on by this committee. One is always a local charity and the other international—with a several year waiting list! We have policies on cake-sales/sweets etc often parents and students are not aware of these.

We make clear (in a gentle way) to parents that running the trip is an extra to our normal job and just like them our normal job keeps us busy! It is good to ask for parental involvement—you can be very lucky. One of the parents of my first team raised £500 for the project herself.

Teachers role—in summary we are happy to act a consultants for fund-raising ideas but cannot take part in every fund-raising event or coordinate them.

I do pass on some ‘top tips’ to the students—see below.

We have never written to local companies etc for donations as our other expedition teams have never been successful with this. If you have strong links with a company perhaps through parental contact this is worth a go. Looking for local companies that have a link with Morocco would also be an approach to try.

Fundraising top 11 tips

  1. Always analyse any fund-raising idea under 3 headings:
    1. How much money will it raise
    2. How much time will it take to set up
    3. How much fun will it be/what will I learn/have achieved from doing it
    Number i clearly being most important, but you may have made a little less money running your first half-marathon than having your legs shaved but perhaps the first is a more significant achievement!
  2. Try to make the fund-raising a memorable and enjoyable part of the whole experience. My best ever was a sponsored ‘St. Trinians style’ team pump trolley marathon on the Severn Valley Railway.
  3. Have one member of the team in overall responsibility for each group event. This person is then the point of contact and needs to make things happen. Try to make sure that everyone feels they are doing more than their fair share of organising!
  4. Plan an individual sponsored event—time to call on all those Facebook friends and distant relatives.
  5. Make friends with a supermarket and bag-pack for them. Be really professional—get T-shirts made, pop a leaflet into bags with info about the project—£500+ in one evening.
  6. Arrange with a local restaurant (avoid the chains) to fill it midweek and do a deal with them. E.g. Set Menu £20 of which they give you £5 per head. Everyone in the team finds at least 6 people to go (usually friends of parents) 80 people have a nice meal and you raise £400+.
  7. Provide refreshments at school events and ask for contributions – make sure you get some content in the programme.
  8. Regular Friday cakes baked for staff common room—makes approx £10 per week at BGS but adds up in 2 terms. Also good for developing team responsibility.
  9. Collect items to sell at a car boot sale—don’t try to organise the boot sale, go to an established one.
  10. Provide an additional service for established events—setting up/clearing up etc. We do this for a May Fair and get a stall free return.
  11. Work together with other members of your team in the same area to provide babysitting and pet feeding services.

Some suggested Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t…
  • Take control—difficult for teachers, but once you have done this it is difficult to go back. For example, don’t run around after team checking everything.
  • Get the parents to run things—the students are much better!
  • Promise lots of group fund-raising and set unrealistic targets
  • Expect the team to get things right or make decisions quickly
  • Attend all group meetings—you will interfere! Be there at the beginning and end. Ask for a summary
  • Over review everything
Do…
  • Inform other teachers about the trip and how the fund-raising works
  • Have an early ‘Fund-raising’ meeting for team members and parents. For example: How we do it
  • Push the team when necessary
  • Have an expedition noticeboard
  • Organise your own ‘training’ events—trip to cinema, meal out, weekend away. For example, organise a meal out and weekend away. This will simulate life on expedition
  • Encourage small, regular group fund-raising activities. For example, friday cakes for staff, tuck shop, vending machine, raffles, refreshments at parents’ evenings
  • Nag, nag, nag about fitness for trekking if this is an important part of your itinerary
  • Set a regular (weekly) slot for meetings and work with the students to produce a skeleton agenda for the term—then fade into the background
  • Plan how you can make them a better team—identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Talk to individuals about their role and your observations—set targets
  • Build a team and manage group dynamics

Some common issues with fund-raising

The team just can’t get started. Get 2 of them to bake cakes for the staffroom on a Friday and sell them then use a different 2 next week.

How do you deal with someone in the team who is not contributing? Talk and set specific targets

Individual fund-raising not going well—same strategy as above.

Activities for children in Morocco

Some principles

Be aware of cultural differences—boys and girls and physical contact for example. It is often easier to do the activities you plan in two separate groups one for boys and one for girls.

Check with your guide if a particular activity will be suitable.

We make sure our girls and boys dress appropriately when playing with the children—round-necked T-shirts and trousers.

I would avoid physical, competitive games for two reasons. Firstly they are very difficult to manage with large numbers of children of different ages trying to take part. Secondly, the consequences of someone hurting themselves are not a simple trip to casualty. A penalty competition is better than a 40 a-side football match!

Make sure any resources used are cheap and easily available—we try to do ‘educational’ craft-based activities with the children. No Nintendo DS electronic games for example.

Any left-over resources should be given to the school not individual children. I use the analogy of a group of Moroccan students visiting our school and giving really nice presents (eg iPods) to everyone in the front row at a Year 7 assembly—what would happen the next time they came? Everyone would rush to be in the front row and begging would begin!

Do not give sweets or anything else as prizes or treats. Let the children take home what they have made. Again I use a reverse example of a hypothetical Moroccan group visiting us and giving out sweets perhaps the week after we had a ‘healthy eating’ week at school. The Moroccan diet is wonderfully healthy—we should do our bit to let it stay that way.

The key is planning. If they are like mine then your students may initially assume that they can entertain large groups of Moroccan children. A session trying the same with the children of our junior school soon opens a few eyes! Especially when we ask our students to try giving all the instructions in French.

Sessions are then spent planning activities to do with children in Morocco. In the Spring Term the team of students have a meeting each week to work on tasks to do with the children in Asni and coordinate their fund-raising.

In advance of the trip if you can engineer it for the team to experience a couple of things that have happened to every student teacher at some time in their planning it is really helpful:

  1. Take a long time planning an activity and then find it only lasts a few minutes with the children.
  2. Instructions that you thought were crystal clear seem to confuse everyone.

Buy a ‘100 things for a rainy day’ or ‘entertaining young children book’. Talk to a reception class or playgroup teacher for some top tips.

Things to take with you

Colouring pencils, wax crayons, water soluble poster paints; budget felt-tips, white paper plates, lolly pop sticks, paper cups; paper and card, coloured thread, elastic, paper glue, balloons, skipping ropes, soft balls. School scissors—supervised use.

Books—early school illustrated dictionaries, flash cards.

Set up a base and get your students to run a variety of activities.

Suggested activities for the young children around Asni

Starting things

Name ball. Sit in circle, whoever has the ball says their name, names someone else and rolls ball to them. They continue. A good way to learn the names of the group you are with.

Memory tray. Name the craft objects on a tray: scissors, paper, glue, pencil etc. Hide and then reveal and see how many the children can remember.

Balloons
  • Draw a face on each then inflate
  • Keep in air
  • Race with balloon between knees
  • Pass balloon down a line. 2 teams from knees to knees
Paper games
  • Noughts and crosses
  • Squares. 6 by 6 dot squares. Take turns joining dots. Put your initials in any squares made.
Art
  • Thumbprint bugs
  • Masks made from paper plates—elastic used to attach.
  • Blackout pictures—wax crayon colour patterns cover with black then scrape off picture.
  • Lollipop stick puppets
  • Finger puppets
  • Walking finger puppets—fingers holes for legs!
  • Mosaic pictures—provide outlines and lots of cut up card and glue.
String
  • Friendship bracelets
  • Macrame
  • Walkie-talkies using paper cups.
  • Cats cradle
  • Noisy spinners
  • Snapper
  • Paper kites
  • Simple origami e.g. paper cats
Skills
  • Juggling lessons, presuming you have someone who can juggle of course!
Group Games
  • Ring-a-ring-a-roses
  • Tag. In a marked area with tagged joining hands to catch untagged
  • Port-Starboard
  • Stick in the mud
  • Cops and robbers
  • What’s the time Mr. Wolf?
  • Queenie Queenie who’s got the ball?
Ball Games
  • Down on one knee—circle and throw ball—one knee—2 knees—1 elbow—2 elbows—chin!
Relay ‘races’
  • Kicking balloon/soft ball to a line and back
  • Catwalk relay—book on head to line and back
  • Hopping relay
Bamboo
  • Limbo
  • Balancing on fingers trying to lower cane.
Skipping
  • Lots of potential and rhymes.

Educational work with the Girls at the boarding house.

Girls age 11–14

There are perhaps 3 major ways we can contribute something of real value given we will only see the girls for 2 or 3 days every year.

Firstly, assist with IT provision and skills through the website diary pages.

Ask a question facility where the girls can ask one of our pupils a question in English.

Secondly, assist with resources for learning and teaching English.

Thirdly, and perhaps most important, show that we are really interested in their progress through school by maintaining contact.

Development

Provide a placement for a pair of BGS girl gap year students to spend 6 weeks at the boarding house as classroom assistants. We have some very capable students who could make a real success of this.

Assign each girl to a particular year BGS House Group—keep informed of House activities

Do you think it might be possible to make the girls distant members of the House—they will have good internet facilities at the boarding house and there is huge potential for sharing experiences and perhaps breaking some cultural/religious stereotypes.

Over time members of the House (staff and students) could visit the boarding house. You could give a House Assembly from there!

Perhaps as a House we could fund the cost equivalent to one girl every year (the scheme will not involve adopting a particular girl for lots of good reasons) which is currently 1000 Euros.

Other Houses could then get involved in future years if they wished.

Commendations

We have systems in school for commending academic work e.g. a prize giving evening. Perhaps we could offer a prize for the top student from the boarding house each year and the one who has made the most progress.

We could produce a nice certificate and arrange a cash prize through Discover Limited. Including the girl’s name in our prize giving programme would be very good.

Is there scope for fund-raising to provide for a teacher to visit the UK and spend a week at Bristol Grammar—can Moroccans travel to the UK without a lot of hassle.

Appendices

Letters

There are several sample letters available for sending to headteachers, students and parents which I can send to you if required. Please e-mail me using the following e-mail address:

Risk assessment

There are a number of sample risk asessments available for download in Microsoft Word format:

Kit List for short overseas trekking trips

Clothing
  • Walking boots—that have a good sole and ankle support
  • Trainers or sandals to give your feet a rest in the evening
  • Socks—two pairs of thick/thin
  • Underwear
  • Trousers—Walking trousers/Tracksuit bottoms
  • Shirt—long sleeved
  • Plain round necked T-shirt for project work
  • T-shirt/Thermal clothing—dryflo/superwool/icebreaker preferred
  • Fleece/Wool jumper
  • Waterproofs (top and bottom)
  • Wool or fleece hat or balaclava and Sunhat
  • Warm gloves or mittens
  • Swimming costume for hamman
  • Something to wear at night
  • You must have spare trousers/shirt/jumper
Personal and emergency equipment
  • Torch (Head torch preferred) and spare batteries
  • Camera – be aware of batteries
  • Personal first aid kit and medication—include 4 medium compeed for blisters
  • Wash kit (include wet wipes) and towel—sarong or travel towel preferred
  • Drinks bottles—2 x 1 litre
  • High Factor sun cream
  • Insect repellent—mosiguard preferred
  • Toilet roll
Other equipment
  • Kitbag—70–90 litre
  • Daysack—25–35 litre
  • Daysack liner
  • Sleeping bag—3 season
  • Sleeping mat (Karrimat/Thermarest)

Download kit list in Microsoft Word format

Download this page plus appendices in a handy zipped file

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