Teachers prepare for trip to Iraq

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FOUR teachers will bravely venture that extra mile for their profession when they jet to Iraq to share their skills.

The team from King Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds, will visit the Kurdistan region of the war- ravaged country next month to help develop student leadership.

They are one of four schools in the UK taking part in the programme, which is designed to help Iraqi teachers rebuild their education system.

Headteacher Geoff Barton, who will be joined by assistant heads Rob Walden and Kevin Geall and PE teacher Danny Burton, will call at a number of schools to discuss ideas.

They will also host meetings in a hotel to talk about issues affecting British schools. He said: “One of the schools we are going to be visiting can only take students in shifts because they haven’t got enough facilities.

“There’s been very little investment so the schools are very basic and small for the population. There’s something quite humbling about people trying to raise standards in conditions you couldn’t even think about.”

It follows a visit by several Iraqi headteachers and local authority figures to King Edward VI this summer.

About 150 students met them and took part in an open question and answer session.

Mr Barton said: “What struck was how interested they were and it was inspiring to hear what they’re trying to do.

“They were asked what they thought of George Bush and Tony Blair and they said ‘you have to understand 1,000 of our friends disappeared in a genocide so they’re saviours to us’.”

When asked how it feels to travel to what was once one of the most dangerous countries in the world, Mr Barton added: “It would be wrong to say I’m not slightly apprehensive because we don’t know what the conditions will be like.

“We’re going to a place which has been pretty dangerous in the past but we’re really excited about it. I hope we can do something to help.”