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Bury St Edmunds school to put Kurdistan exchange programme on hold

King Edward VI students in 2012 as they returned from a memorable trip to Iraq where they taught leadership skills at the local schools and helped organise a sports festival. Jack Bowcher, Jack Anthony, Ed Joynson, Ben Tippet, James Sturgeon with the Kurdistan flag and scarf.   LR/BR: Jo Easdown and sports teacher Laura Foreman holds the Kurdistan scarf.

King Edward VI students in 2012 as they returned from a memorable trip to Iraq where they taught leadership skills at the local schools and helped organise a sports festival. Jack Bowcher, Jack Anthony, Ed Joynson, Ben Tippet, James Sturgeon with the Kurdistan flag and scarf. LR/BR: Jo Easdown and sports teacher Laura Foreman holds the Kurdistan scarf.

A Bury St Edmunds school has put its exchange programme with Kurdistan on hold in response to the continued threat facing the region by Islamist militants.

King Edward VI was due to send two students to the Iraqi region in June but was forced to call off the trip due to the dangers associated with Islamic State (IS) fighters.

Formerly known as Isis, the group have seized areas in northern Iraq with the US recently launching air strikes to protect the Kurdish capital of Irbil.

Geoff Barton, headteacher at King Edward VI, said their three-year education link with Kurdistan will continue by sharing resources and maintaining a dialogue online. He said: “They’re appreciating the fact we’re staying in touch and sending messages of support.”

Mr Barton noted that some of the people they worked with have their bags packed by the door and are sleeping in their day-wear incase they have to flee their homes.

The school has visited Kurdistan three times to offer support in teaching and student leadership and teachers from the region also travelled to Bury.

Former student Ben Tippett, 20, who visited the area in 2012, said he was ‘disheartened’ by recent events and had been in touch with young people he met there who are trying to get visas to come to Europe.

 

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