St John’s care home open Sierra Leone school

St John's House school in Sierra Leone

St John's House school in Sierra Leone - Credit: Castlemeadow Care Group

A Norwich care home has opened a school in Sierra Leone, since building on the site of an old school on Heigham Road.

Picture of St John's R.C. First School on Heigham Road, Norwich. Photo: Angela Sharpe Copy: Hugh Bow

Picture of St John's R.C. First School on Heigham Road, Norwich. Photo: Angela Sharpe Copy: Hugh Bowring For: EN EDP pics © 2005 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Archant © 2005

St John's care home, which opened yesterday, is built on the site of St John's Primary School. Given this, staff and owners of the care home wanted to give back to the education of young people.

Sue Hill, general manager of St John's care home, said: 'When we bought this site we wanted to continue to connect with different people.

'It's very exciting, some of the staff from this care home will be going out to the school and meeting the children, and building a further relationship with the school.'

Dr Sanjay Kaushal, managing director of the Castlemeadow Care group, which owns the care home, said: 'I can't believe how far it's come. I remember walking the site three and a half years ago, and there still being children running around. In some ways I felt really heartbroken that the school that had been here for decades was about to be lost forever.

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'So we've reincarnated it on the other side of the world, and the school is now up and running. It means a lot to me because we're touching people's lives, and that we're going to do something really valuable.'

The father-of-four, added: 'My hope is that over time they'll get the education that can actually beat poverty.

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'Because of the success of this school, we are looking to commit further resources, and are looking to build a further three schools as well. It's about breaking people out of this poverty trap,'

On the subject of opening his new care home on Heigham Road, the doctor, who worked in the NHS for 20 years, said: 'We need to push the boundaries of care, we wanted to create something special, and wanted our residents to feel special.'

Joining Dr Kaushal, 49, at the opening of the care home on November 17, was celebrity chef Paul Rankin.

The care home, which cost close to £9 million to build, is now open for up to 60 residents, including a specialist dementia unit and luxury suite.

To read more about the St John's care home, visit will the students in Sierra Leone be learning?

Education in Sierra Leone is very much directed to prepare students for a brighter future. From the age of 6 children will enter into their formal basic education, consisting of 9 years of compulsory schooling free of charge. The system has been designed to enhance literacy and improve education opportunities for all, especially disadvantaged young people – like girls from rural areas. It is unfortunate, however, that the shortage of schools and resources makes the system difficult to implement.

According to the 2004 Education Act, students are set up to acquire employable skills and improve their understanding of English language, French, mathematics, natural sciences and technology. There is also a focus on enriching the lives of students and for them to contribute to their community.

Upon completion of the 9 years students are entered to sit their Basic Education Certificate Examination, in order to progress into further education. After completing their senior secondary education, students have the option to improve their academic prospects, with the hope of entering into one of Sierra Leone's two universities, or training to develop skills for vocational professions, like agriculture, carpentry or mechanics.

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