An assistant head teacher at Lawn Manor Academy has given a presentation to 30 school principals in Nepal about how the school has responded to Covid-19.
Marek Koza, Assistant Headteacher for Achievement at Lawn Manor, was invited to be a guest speaker at the Google Meet conference by Dr Christine Tipper, chair of the Swindon - Madhyapur Thimi Friendship Group. The group was set up to encourage cultural and educational exchanges between Swindon and the Nepalese town of Madhyapur Thimi, with the aim of officially twinning the towns at some point in the future.
One of the Madhyapur Thimi’s schools, Glory School, has linked with Lawn Manor to run projects that students in both schools can take part in.
Dr Tipper organised the conference, which was chaired by Glory School’s principal Karna Shankar, to share Swindon’s experiences of dealing with Covid-19 and enable schools in Nepal to prepare for what is potentially to come and best respond to the pandemic.
Marek Koza explained the challenges that teachers faced in supporting students in learning at home, how they dealt with the school site, how staff were able to support students of key workers who came into school, and how plans were formulated to enable Year 10s eventually to return to school.
Former South Swindon Labour parliamentary candidate Sarah Church then added her perspective as a working parent with school-aged children at home.
Marek Koza said: “It felt like a very useful meeting indeed. The principals were really interested in how we dealt with keeping the school open for children of key workers, and particularly how we dealt with students who were learning at home but had no access to computers. It felt like we are very much ahead in terms of planning, and it was good to be able to share our experience, ideas and knowledge to help keep them ahead in the days and weeks to come, too.”
Sarah Church agreed.
"I am so pleased to be part of the Swindon-Madhyapur Thimi Friendship Link group,” said Sarah.
“I've been working with Christine and Marek on the link between Lawn Manor Academy and the Glory School as it's such an exciting opportunity for everyone concerned. It was a privilege to join the call to hear what great work Swindon teachers are doing, and also to discuss the common challenges for parents and teachers across the globe during the pandemic. My hat goes off to teachers everywhere!"
Dr Tipper said:
“After the hugely successful visit to Swindon by the delegation from Madhyapur Thimi’s schools last November, we were pleased to be able to build on those links and use the experiences of Lawn Manor Academy to help similar Nepalese schools face the current pandemic crisis. I would particularly like to thank Marek Koza for his enthusiastic response.”
Marek Koza added that Lawn Manor Academy hopes to build stronger links with Glory School once the epidemic has passed.