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2014 Update

Currently JAMAICA 2000 is supporting the development of the “Widening Horizons” school partnership project between Jamaica and UK, working with Learning Links International and Jamaican Ministry of Education Regions – initially between UK schools in Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Shropshire, Staffordshire, North Wales and schools in the Regions of Jamaica

JAMAICA 2000 is supporting the “Caribbean and African Languages Network” and “Learning Links International” on “Respect and Recognition for Caribbean and African Languages and Culture” -

JAMAICA 2000 is supporting training related to the use of Di Jamiekan Nyuu Testiment as the lead organisation for Jamaican in the UK with links to the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies

JAMAICA 2000 continues to support “Rastafari Heritage” in developing projects and support eg for the Prison Service

JAMAICA 2000 is working with Learning Links International to support Jamaican Professionals and Artistes, with promotion of school workshops on Jamaica with poetry, language and culture, and with Prof Fred Hickling re: workshops on Mental Health issues

JAMAICA 2000 is reviving links with Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (adult literacy)


Connecting Classrooms  UK <> Jamaica      

Update January 2014                                                                         Spicy Fingers “On your Bike” Ride 2013

The “Widening Horizons” network of school links between schools in Jamaica and schools in UK is picking up again, partly because the British Council has included Jamaica in “Connecting Classrooms” as a new project with lots of help, guidance and support on line Google: Connecting Classrooms, this also provides opportunities for schools to get £1,500 / 250,000 Ja$ funding for teacher exchange visits. We are still working on the best way to manage these links, so please keep us updated about your activities!  An

In May 2013, the Widening Horizons team arranged and supported a visit for the Head Teacher and Deputy from Calthorpe, an outstanding Special School in Birmingham, to visit Jamaica to start discussions with Miss June Hamilton and the Special Education Team in Kingston to explore how a permanent link can be established between Special Schools in Birmingham and Special Schools in Jamaica. They were welcomed on visits to number of schools across the island, travelling with Spicy Fingers, the Birmingham based Jamaican Poet, before spending time with Miss Yvonne Snowball and the staff and students at Woodlawn Special School outside Mandeville, which is their specific link school. MacIntosh Memorial School also put on a really useful presentation about how students with disabilities and learning difficulties are being supported in their school.

The Widening Horizons team also visited a number of other Primary Schools and Secondary Schools in Region 5, as well as in Region 4, where a formal presentation was made of copies of the “Building a Bridge of Friendship” poetry book which was an idea by Jamaican poet, Yasus Afari, which was produced jointly by children at Uplands Junior School in Wolverhampton and children at Cacoon School in Hanover. This was endorsed by the Jamaican High Commissioner in UK with a forward congratulating all involved.

In July, Widening Horizons successfully supported 3 schools in Birmingham and 3 schools in Wolverhampton to get funding support for their links with schools in Region 5 and Region 4, in applications for British Council funding:

            St Thomas's C of E Primary School,                                                      with MacIntosh Memorial Primary School
                  Calthorpe Special School and Sports College,                                                   with Woodlawn Special School
                  Holyhead School (Secondary) Birmingham,                                    with Manchester High School

                  Claregate Primary School,                                                                         with Pell River Primary School
                  Oak Meadow Primary,                                                                                                 with Middlesex Corner Primary School
                  Uplands Junior School,                                                                               with Cacoon Primary School and ASTEP Centre

After Spicy Fingers second stint in Jamaica in May as an important part of the “Widening Horizons” team, Spicy decided to devote his summer back in the UK to raise funds to print enough copies of his poetry book “Reflecting Black” to present class sets to all the secondary schools in Jamaica. So he got on his bike and rode 1,100 miles from Lands End, the most Southerly tip of England to John O’Groats, the most Northerly tip of Scotland and achieved this in a record time of 9 days! www.onyourbikespicy.com and see photo above. He raised some funds along the way, and with additional sponsorship and donations he has got the books printed and shipped off to Jamaica. He is following on a flight in mid November – with his bike, as he plans to raise more funds by cycling around Jamaica in 3 days over the Christmas period with the intention of printing copies of his inspirational poetry poster “My Future” to give to younger children around the island. Spicy Fingers will be visiting schools in Jamaica which have links with UK schools and hopes to get some dates booked with schools in Jamaica before he leaves the island in early February 2014. Then there will be opportunities for Spicy to lead on “Jamaica Days” in schools in UK.   Spicy will be picking up his emails in Jamaica – so for bookings or for donations you can contact him at spicyfingerspoet@yahoo.co.uk or contact  lizmillman@yahoo.co.uk

St Thomas's C of E Primary School made a second visit to McIntosh Memorial Primary School in September, and at the same time the main link teacher from Holyhead School travelled to visit Manchester High School.

Calthorpe Special School promoted the links between Birmingham Special Schools with Jamaican schools and in October 2013 the Widening Horizons team supported applications to the British Council for “Connecting Classrooms” between 7 Birmingham / Jamaican Special School partnerships:

           Brays School                                                                 with Hope Valley Experimental School

                 Selly Oak School                                                                           with Randolf Lopez School of Hope
                 Huntershill School                                                     with Carberry Court Special School
                 Dame Ellen Pinsent School                                                      with Llandilo Special School
                 Uffculme and Hamilton Schools                          with Edgehill School
                 The Pines School                                                                          with Great Portmore Learning Centre
                 Baskerville School                                                      with Windsor Special School

Wolverhampton / Hanover Region 4  links are also developing, and Widening Horizons also worked with the following schools to put in applications for British Council funding:  

                  Fallings Park Primary School               links with Green Island Primary School

                  Northwood Primary School                                  links with Kendal Primary School

                  Whitgreave Junior School                   links with Cave Valley All Age School


Next Steps:   Schools start to get to know one another: so email, text or phone and start to develop and plan joint project work that will benefit learning at both schools. Any problems - in Jamaica contact your Community Relations Education Officer or June Hamilton at the Special Education Unit - or in UK please email lizmillman@yahoo.co.uk

Now we have laid the foundations we need to see the establishment of the Birmingham Jamaica Special School Links Support Network, running alongside Birmingham Primary, Junior and Secondary School Jamaica Links Network (for links with schools in Region 5). We also anticipate that when visits happen in 2014, in both UK and Jamaica, opportunities will be taken for more formalised training, workshops and events to share skills and knowledge between professionals as we have a great deal to learn from one another. In Birmingham the Association of Jamaica Nationals www.ajn-birmingham.org.uk are exploring ways that they can support the developing education links between Birmingham and Jamaican schools as a legacy project and reminder of the 2012 wonderful 50th Anniversary Summer and the City’s delight in hosting the Jamaican athletes.

In Wolverhampton the Hanover & Wolverhampton Link Organisation Project www.hwlop.org  is looking at ways that they can support the school links and also Wolverhampton International Links Association www.wilaonline.com is getting all the Wolverhampton schools with links around world together, including the schools with links in Jamaica.

One disappointment was that the British High Commission did not grant the funding we requested to enable the 6 Regional Community Relations Education Officers and the Special Education Officers to visit the UK. Also we may run into trouble with changes in the application process for link funding – there was a glitch on the Connecting Classrooms website and online applications could not be accepted, so we submitted applications based on the successful submissions made in last round. If this causes a problem we’ll just have to resubmit at the end of January.

Thanks go to everyone who is putting in the extra effort needed to get this project off the ground and to keep the momentum going, which has been quite a challenge, but worth it as this project clearly has so much potential .... and now having put in all that effort to lay the foundations and we can start building something brilliant for the children and young people in our schools, and it’s a great project to develop with our colleagues and our new friends.

Liz Brant Millman  lizmillman@yahoo.co.uk

Widening Horizons:

We welcomed a small delagation: Miss Yvonne Snowball,  Principal of Woodlawn Special School in Mandeville. She welcomed the Calthorpe Team last May.


Also the Principal of Manchester High School in Mandeville - 

"Manchester High continues to stand tall among Secondary Education Institutions across the world. Our main areas of focus surround the core values of:

- Spritual Advancement

- Excellence in Academia and Co-Curicular activities

- Discipline and Safety and Security

- Professionalism

- Mutually beneficial partnership"

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