Monday, 7 November 2011 9:38 AM

Global Link Strengthened for Primary School

A headteacher in Feniton Church of England Primary School is hoping to strengthen a village's global links during a visit to to the Solomon Islands this week.

Mr. Colin Butler flew to the Solomon Islands as part of the school's twinning project with the Norman Palmer School.

He will spend three weeks on Guadalcanal, the main island, where he will be teaching pupils at the Norman Palmer School as well as visiting other schools and education establishments in the area to help build links between the two countries.

He hopes his visit will not only strengthen links but also develop inter-cultural understanding and empathy between the two schools.

The children at both schools are working on a project and exhibition called 'Our lives in two countries, but in one world'.

His trip was inspired by the work and life of Feniton-born John Coleridge Patteson - the first Bishop of Melanesia.

The school was visited by the current Archbishop of Melanesia, David Vunagi, in May 2010, who was presented with books the pupils had collected to take back to the Norman Palmer School in Honiara.

Mr Butler said: "It was from this time that we began to build a tangible link between the two schools.

"This was further developed when the principal, Bernard Qunaifia, was able to access email and we were able to link our schools through the digital world.

"It was felt that the links were becoming strong enough for the senior staff and governors at Feniton to apply to the British Council for a Reciprocal Visit Grant.

However, before the application could be considered, the British Council had to be persuaded to reinstate the Solomon Islands on to the funded list. The country had been removed after troubles a few years ago.

Mr Butler added: "My trip also follows on from the one made by two pupils from Feniton School, Lara and Erin Drew, who spent this summer in the Solomon's.

"The girls attended the Norman Palmer School while their parents, Katie and Ian, undertook some voluntary work."

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