Former Gorleston principal helping to make a difference to lives of Gambian children

Senior education officer Madi Jatta opens the extended Albaraca school watched by John Adnitt and h

Senior education officer Madi Jatta opens the extended Albaraca school watched by John Adnitt and his daughter Rachael Wong in Sukuta, The Gambia.

For more than a decade, John Adnitt led the way at a new college set up in Gorleston, helping to establish it from the day it opened.

Albaraca Nursery School in Gambia, which John Adnitt helped to establish. Picture: Supplied by John

Albaraca Nursery School in Gambia, which John Adnitt helped to establish. Picture: Supplied by John Adnitt - Credit: Supplied by John Adnitt

Mr Adnitt, 77, was the first principal of East Norfolk Sixth Form College a position he held from 1981 until 1994.

However, for the past two decades he has been having a positive impact much further afield - in the African nation of Gambia.

In 1997, shortly after retiring, Mr Adnitt travelled to the West African country with wife Margaret and daughter Rachael and ended up visiting a nursery school in Sukuta, and was stunned by what he saw.

He said: 'I remember the first time we went was shortly after my retirement do at the Imperial Hotel in Great Yarmouth, and I recall telling people I had no intention of getting involved in education.


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'However, what we saw was quite pathetic really. It was in a disused garage and the pupils had to bring their own chairs.

'One of the walls was painted black, which the teacher would write on.

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'We decided we wanted to try and improve things for them, so set ourselves the goal of building a new classroom for them.'

The family set about fundraising and in January 1998, Albaraca Nursery School opened, with 25 children and two teachers.

Over the past 20 years, however, the school has grown and grown, now welcoming 170 pupils each day.

It also now has five classrooms, six teachers, a headteacher and pupils receive a cooked meal each day.

Mr Adnitt, who visits the school at least once a year, said: 'We are extremely pleased with how the school has grown over the years. It is so satisfying to see how much it has changed, when comparing to how things were when we first visited.

'What we enjoy most when we visit is seeing how good the teachers are. They do a brilliant job in making sure the children are having lots of fun and are learning.'

Now living in the West Midlands, Mr Adnitt spent 30 years working in Norfolk, including his time at east Norfolk.

He added: 'One thing I find very pleasing is seeing just how huge the college has come. It was quite a small college to begin with, but has grown so much, which gives me immense pleasure.'

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