Two factors came together in 2007, leading to a new strand of teachers’ professional development within the Food For Thought School Linking Programme.
In July 2007, Jean Harrison, an education consultant, visited Food For Thought schools in Uganda to talk to teachers and find out how they felt about their work. The resulting Visit to Review Teacher Effectiveness in FFT Schools, Uganda report (PDF 245KB) recommended offering support to teachers in practical professional development.
In November 2007, Devon County Council Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS) invited the Directors of Education (DEOs) from the three Districts of Uganda at that time involved in FFT to visit Devon to find out how education was organised here. A ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ was signed and A Five Year Action Plan proposed.
As a result, a one-week refresher course in basic teaching skills for 95 teachers and in school leadership for 18 head teachers, was held in May 2008, supported by UK facilitators, with follow up school visits by the Ugandan District Inspectors during the following 12 months. A report on the programme followed: Teachers’ Professional Development Programme 2008-9 Report on Refresher Course. Follow up visits showed that most teachers and head teachers felt they had applied their learning and that it was making a difference to their teaching and the children’s learning.
During her visit to Devon, Mrs Benny Bugembe, DEO of Mubende, identified school-based and organised professional development for teachers, as a strategy which could be successfully applied to the Ugandan context where funding for training is extremely limited. So a programme of ‘Lead Teachers’ was established in 2009-10 and 22 ‘Lead Teachers’ were identified by their schools to receive a week’s intensive training to equip them to support continuing professional development with their colleagues. The Teachers’ Professional Development Programme Phase 2 Report on Lead Teacher Training Programme 2009-10 report (PDF 735KB) details how the programme is proceeding
Jean Harrison has continued to work with Lead Teachers, when time allows. Unfortunately we were not able to secure any significant funding for this work. Jean wrote a report after her visit in June 2013.
During September 2014 Sue Errington visited schools and other projects in Mudende and Tororo.