How can I become involved?
Who are we looking for?
Headteachers and depute headteachers, teachers, child development officers, pupil support assistants, quality improvement officers or Active Schools Coordinators from both mainstream and ASL establishments.
What will they do?
Headteachers and depute headteachers will work with groups of heads on building leadership capacity, school improvement planning and improving the focus on learning and teaching.
Teachers will link with teachers in a school to work together to improve the quality of learning and teaching.
Pupil support assistants will link with teaching assistants or volunteer parents to support children’s learning. Pupil support assistants in Glasgow have many skills working with children with additional support needs. These skills can be shared with staff in Malawi.
Staff will work with parent organisations such as Mothers’ groups, parent teacher association and school management committees to build capacity to bring about improvements.
Child development officers will work with staff in Early Childhood Development centres. Early Childhood Development Centres are not run by the Ministry of Education, science and technology. They are the responsibility of another Ministry. There are few of them in Malawi and many are in urban areas and are private. However, Mary’s Meals are increasing the number they provide and they now have 45 in the South West region. Our work will be in these centres initially.
Secondary school teachers will work with teachers to improve their knowledge and skills in the teaching of English, Physical Science, Biology and Mathematics.
Primary school teachers will work with teachers mainly at Standards 5 to 8 to develop different approaches to learning and teaching.
Teachers of children with additional support needs will share their skills with ‘special education’ teachers in Malawi, of which there are very few. Mainstream teachers also need to develop skills at working with children with additional support needs.
Active school coordinators will work with teachers, coaches and volunteers to develop playground games and sports to promote health and wellbeing.
How will they get there?
The staff will volunteer and be expected to fund raise for their flight and accommodation. We will organise the accommodation and travel arrangements in Malawi in partnership with South West Region and Link Community Development.
When will they go?
Those working in Early Childhood Development Centres and primary schools would go from mid-June to early July. Those working in secondary schools would go from mid May to early June. This is to tie in with the Malawian examination schedule and also to have more suitable weather. They will go in small groups with more than one staff member working in the same school. They will go for at least three weeks.
Will they get accreditation for this work?
We will support teachers to get their work accredited with the General Teaching Council (GTC) through the Professional Recognition Award.
What resources will they need?
We will work with the schools in Malawi to ensure that we fit in with their school improvement plans. Our approach will be to work in a coaching/mentoring role supporting what teachers are already achieving. It will require our staff to think differently and to develop skills in working with large groups of children. The focus will be on practical activities promoting more active approaches to learning, such as children leading their own learning. This will be challenging as the current approaches in Malawi are quite traditional and didactic.
Teachers in Malawi will need access to staff development material. However, access to IT is limited and there are security issues as well as difficulties with electricity. We will work with Link Community Development to use Solar Connect. Solar Connect costs around £4,000 and consists of a solar panel, a laptop and the technical resources needed for connection. It is designed by Strathclyde University. This would allow us to put video clips and resources onto DVDs which could be run on the laptop to enable teachers to learn. Solar Connect will also support the village community through providing a source of power. It will allow pupils to study for longer as it will be able to provide light. We will raise money to purchase these. South West Region will identify suitable schools in rural areas as well as some urban ones.
What training will they receive?
Those staff accepted to go will receive training in the months preceding their trip. They will get training in coaching and mentoring, advice on working with Malawi teachers, support for developing material – all provided by volunteers, such as recently retired senior managers from Glasgow and beyond. Material will also be provided by Link Community Development who are very experienced working on education projects in Africa.
If I’m a GCC pupil
If every child from a Glasgow primary and secondary school brings a £1 once a year it would raise £65,000 a year.
Download Maureen McKenna's letter to Pupil Council here.
If I’m a member of the public:
If you would like to donate to the Malawi Leaders of Learning project you can here.