Project Zulu February 2023

Published, 22/03/2023

In February Dr Rich Baker and Dr Ben Knight from the School of Education and Childhood travelled to South Africa with Kate Willis, the Project Zulu (PZ) Co-ordinator to work with PZ partners, building upon and reviewing some longstanding projects and facilitating a new pilot for 2023.

The purposes of this visit were to: on a recently established partnership with Education faculty academic colleagues at the University of Zululand in Richard’s Bay,

2.monitor a pilot project in which UWE secondary PGCE students live and work with South African teachers in the university’s locality, preparations for the August visit of over 40 UWE student partners, including Education, Health, Film Making, Photography, Business and Engineering, with school Principals on preparations for the upcoming PZ UK choir tour in which 20 pupils and their teachers from two PZ partner primary schools will visit Bristol, live with local families, give performances of songs and dances from Zulu culture and make profit to develop resources at their schools.

The visit was a huge success, and we really cemented our partnership working with University of Zululand colleagues. Dr Richard Baker was able to share with their academics the direction and importance of current Geographical thinking and how to develop Geography curricula for a changing world; we were able to discuss future collaborations and also heard from their own student teachers the value of their course and future ambitions as educators.

The Secondary pilot project was a major focus for this visit, as we were developing working partnerships with new high schools in a new area or South Africa to expand the scope and impact of the partnership.  The role of University of Zululand in co-ordinating and supporting these placements was invaluable and a great deal was learnt by the University representatives, students hosts, seniors schools and the four UWE students.

“We feel honoured to have been chosen to represent the University of the West of England. We feel that there is a before and an after to our journey as teacher trainees. It has been mind-blowing, from the beginning to the end, loading us with new views, teaching perspectives, and ways to use limited resources to the maximum” – PGCE Secondary Student Volunteer

The success of this element of the visit has meant that we can go forward with great confidence in how we can work effectively with our partners in this area in future years.

Once we had accomplished this work in Richards Bay we moved west to the more familiar Newcastle and Madedeni districts where PZ has long been established to make arrangements for the forthcoming summer PZ student visits, ensure that all was well for placements in schools and the choir were prepared for their forthcoming tour.  Satisfied that all was well and equipped with a great deal of information we headed home after a busy week! 

Written by Dr Rich Baker and Dr Ben Knight

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