Mashemong Primary School
In 2015, we embarked on our first ever Link with an international school. Mashemong Primary School is our partner school in South Africa. It is located North of Johannesburg in a large township called Tembisa and has over 1,200 primary aged pupils. In March 2015, Miss Smith and Mrs Aldridge travelled to South Africa to spend a week at Mashemong Primary School experiencing life there. It was truly amazing! They were both made to feel like royalty and found the experience humbling. Although the location of the school is in a very poor area, the children were vibrant and welcoming. They work hard to progress through their curriculum, learning to read and write and of course, learning to speak a new language - English. However, their pride in their cultural traditions of dance and singing was breathtaking and incredible experience.
In June 2015, we extended our welcoming hand to Mr George, the principal of Mashemong Primary School. He spent a week in the United Kingdom, learning all about Astmoor Primary School, meeting children, parents, staff and governors. We worked hard to ensure he experienced life at Astmoor at it's very best enabling him to take home memories for life.
The impact of both visits on the whole school has been incredible. We continue to keep in touch via email and messages and our children here have both written to and received letters from children in South Africa. The subject of Mashemong School is never far from our thoughts and is spoken about often. We are hoping to undertake another year of reciprocal visits in the coming year in order to strengthen our partnership further.
In October 2017, our second visit to South Africa took place when Mrs Aldridge and Miss Doran journeyed back to visit Mashemong Primary School. It was a wonderful experience and helped to strengthen our partnership further. As with the previous trip, Mrs Aldridge and Miss Doran received a very warm welcome. They spent lots of time in classrooms experiencing school life at Mashemong - which is quite different than Astmoor. Mr George had also organised a wide range of cultural experiences which included visiting Nelson Mandela's house and going to a football match.
This year, Miss Doran and Mr Guy travelled to South Africa during their Spring Break and arrived after a very gruelling day of travel. For Mr Guy, who was new to the experiece, he was completely overwhelmed by the visit. Once again, both teachers were warmly welcomed and treated to a wide range of new cultural experiences. Sadly, our old friend, Mr George, has now moved on to become the principal of a local high school but he did take time to see Mr Guy and Miss Doran during their stay. The new prinipal, Mr Nathi, will hopefully be visiting the UK before the end of the academic year and we very much look forward to planning some great experiences for him.