Building the High School meets an important need in the area to provide a high-quality secondary education for pupils leaving primary schools around Kanungu.
In 2007 it was just a field. Fundraising by Highgate School in London provided money to build two classrooms and the admin block so the school could open and first year group be recruited. Each year, the pupils move up the school and another year group joins, so more funds were needed for the next classroom, dormitory, laboratory, library, staff house etc.
The school now has all year groups and the first cohort have achieved their “A” levels, some moving on to Great Lakes University.
Teaching starts broadly but, for senior pupils, is focused on subjects which will be of most use to them, for employment, and to the community. This leads to a bias towards scientific subjects.
Creating a new school from scratch was a challenge. It is a great achievement which is already changing the lives of the boys and girls who spend their important teenage years there and will enable them as adults to have a real impact on the entire community.
What hit me hardest was finding that many of Loyce’s brothers and sisters did not have the opportunity to go to school, as it dawned on me the harsh reality that many parents in Uganda face; choosing which child will have a formal education… Click to read full article Ella Lane, visiting student
from Highgate School
I was surprised to find that the students at Great Lakes are learning science topics to the same level as in the UK. Visiting ”A” level student
from Highgate School
Trustees visit the High School every year to monitor progress at the school, inspect current projects and plan how to meet future needs. All visits are self funded to ensure that all your sponsorships and donations are spent on the schools. Here is the latest news:
After many months of being closed due to Covid lockdown, schools in Uganda are been allowed to partially re-open.
The High School is permitted to let the 'O' and 'A' level pupils back to work.
Pupils and staff are delighted. We hope that we will be allowed to re-open for other year groups soon.
Lockdown in Uganda has been much stricter than most countries, because their limited health facilities would be easily overwhelmed, so schools throughout the country have been closed. It has caused huge hardship for rural families who they have really struggled to feed their children. At times they have been unable to work, tend their smallholdings or visit local markets.
Normally we work for long-term transformation of lives in the region through education… but these are not normal times and we had to address today's hunger. The schools we support have handed out basic food parcels to families with children at the schools. These contain the basic ingredients they need to live.
At the same time, the teachers prepared and distributed workbooks so pupils continue to get some form of education during lockdown.
In Uganda it is often wet… and very muddy. In the rainy season it can be difficult for pupils and staff to walk between classrooms without treading vast quantities of dirt around. The site is at the top of a hill and unmanaged water creates a risk that the foundations of various school buildings will be eroded.
The new drainage channels have been painted in bright colours and they create beds which have been planted with flowers. The school campus is now much more attractive. We hope that pupils will become engaged with tending the plants and gain an increased appreciation of their environment.
Just as in the UK, having access to modern computing facilities is increasingly important to teaching pupils in Uganda and it will help them enormously at University, if they are able to gain a place, and in their future work.
We have tried several different technologies over the years, including a network of low-cost Raspberry Pi computers. We have now managed to source reliable "as new" quality refurbished laptops for an affordable price and are using them to build learning centres at the High School and at Kirima Primary. The laptops are easy to use, require little maintenance and can continue to operate even when the power goes off!
Access to the Internet is not yet affordable in Uganda so we pre-load every computer with a huge amount of material: computer programs, reference material, books, audio books and videos."
Early access to IT will give pupils a real chance as the information economy grows in Africa.
Thanks to pupils and staff at Highgate School and Tottenham Academy of Excellence whose charitable walk raised the funds to purchase the equipment.
It was a delight to visit the school and see the progress over the last year.
The High School caters for 50 pupils in years S1 to S4, when they sit 'O' Levels, and for 30 to go on to years S5 and S6 to take 'A' Levels.
In Uganda, older pupils have a choice of subjects and the school has a clear focus on science subjects, where there is a serious lack in the region, to ensure that what the children learn has a clear benefit for their future and to the wider community. There are now two science labs and we are raising funds for reagents and kit so they are fully utilised.
A key development for 2020 is an improved resource centre, comprising a book library and computer room.
Education is broader than the exam curriculum and they are building on the current clubs (creative writing, wildlife, entrepreneurship and drama) to add a reading group and IT club.
Learning is put to practical use that is relevant to the children's families. The entrepreneur club includes income generation from avocados, making soap from candle-nut oil, growing coffee bushes and rearing animals.
The High School is a wonderful resource for the area and everybody is hugely grateful to the sponsors and donors who make it possible.
Greetings to you from Great Lakes High School in Uganda.
We are grateful for the new science block, we use it almost on daily basis and its beauty has become an icon of development for our school and the community.
I have attached a photo of students cleaning the very building in the evening after use.
We have not interacted with all 13 students who finished A' level 2018 but a few of them who have picked their results, applied for further studies and are waiting for response from tertiary institutions of their choice. By the end of August we shall have established exactly where each of them went or what he or she will be doing.
We have a new school nurse called Christine. She works full time and lives on site.
Work on fence is finished. We are now a community more organized and secure. I am personally excited about it and we thank all of you who made it possible.
Otherwise we are grateful to learn that you will pay us another visit this year.
Thank you and God bless you.
The second science lab is now complete and fully in use. This means the High School has sufficient capacity to teach practical science to all the year groups. The labs will be used for 'O' and 'A' level practical exams in November 2018.
This high-quality science teaching is a really important initiative in rural Uganda as it helps students (and the wider community they later work with) understand the world from an evidence-based perspective.
Thank you to Highgate School families and everybody who contributed to making this possible.
Following a visit from Gill, a teacher from the UK, the English Literature students worked on writing Haiku poems. Here are some samples of their work:
Billgates: the warmth of
your heart shines through in all that
you think and you say.
Gift: not only a
gift for your parents, but a
gift to all the world.
Ignatious: those soft
and gentle eyes are hiding
the depth of your soul.
The sports pitch which was opened last year is now fully in use. Grass has grown over much of the rough ground (making it less hazardous to play football in bare feet!) and the goal posts have been installed.
The boys are loving football and the girls are loving netball :)
The High School is delighted with its end of 2017 'A' and 'O' level exam results.
Work has started on constructing the second science lab.
It is important that students get a good grounding in science as this understanding is in short supply in the region. The first lab is fully utilised by the older students and this facility gives younger pupils the chance to carry out practical experiments and build their understanding of physics, chemistry and biology.
Thanks to everybody involved in the Highgate School Sponsored Walk 2017 which has funded this important project
The new water supply is complete, with a yield of around 2 litres per minute.
Multiple underground springs spread over a 400 m2 area were consolidated to feed into one box where the water is filtered. From the box it is fed into a waterproof stone tank and left to balance its pressure for the long journey - 7km by underground pipe to the school. Most of the piping was relocated from the old spring which dried up following a prolonged drought (which has also caused a food shortage in the region).
It is a relief to have enough water for drinking, cooking and washing.
The school has 300 boys and girls with 24 teaching staff. It is a boarding school in lovely countryside around a mile from the nearest village.
The pupils come from many local primary schools and stay up to “O” or “A” level. We are monitoring the next steps for recent leavers and the results are encouraging.
Meeting the children is a delight. They are clearly happy and engaged in learning and the many other activities at the school (football, volleyball, netball, debating, drama and scouting for boys).
The new sixth form girls’ and boys’ are now complete and in use. The senior pupils are excited at living in a less overcrowded space.
The photo shows the opening ceremony during the visit by Highgate School pupils.
Great Lakes High School teaches science subject up to “A” as these are important both for pupil’s future employment and for their contribution to the development of the community.
New science laboratory equipment has been recently installed and more is required for other year groups. Consumables such as chemicals for practical experiments are an ongoing expense which is significant in Uganda.
This year both Highgate School and Hull Collegiate School visited Kanungu from the UK.
These visits are hugely valuable for everybody concerned. The UK pupils get to understand something of life in Uganda which, for some, puts details of their life at home in perspective. The Uganda pupils get the opportunity to talk to people of their own age from the wider world, giving an insight into what they may be part of later in life.
And, just as important, everybody really enjoys the visits.
The new sports pitch has been levelled, fenced and the largest stones have been removed. It now needs a chance for grass to grow over the rough ground to make it fully usable.
Great Lakes Highgate School vs. Highgate School results: GLHS won the football and Highgate won the netball, so honours even!
The mosquito nets, funded by Hull Collegiate School, have been installed in the dormitories so every child has a new net.
This is important as malaria is a major issue in the region. As well as avoiding the children getting sick while at school, use of nets sets habits for life and encourages their families to use them at home.
Duncan, a former pupil at the High School, has published a book «Making Right Choices».
He was one of the first pupils, joining the school in 2008 when it only offered “O” levels, so he completed his schooling at San Gionvanni Secondary School and then graduated in environmental science at Makerere University.
He lives with his aunt and financially supports his brother (having to sell his motorcycle to pay towards his brother’s education). He is setting up a local project to support unemployed young people to set up enterprises.
All this has been made possible by the generosity of the sponsors, who pay for the monthly running costs, and donors, who pay for the individual small and large projects which are building this new school.
Thank you to everybody who has contributed, including:
If you are able to make a donation, we will use it to meet some of the most urgent needs, including:
Our main funding comes from sponsors who pay £15 each month per pupil. 120 children currently have no sponsor.
The families also make a contribution. There is a “hardship fund” for 40 children, mostly orphans, who pay no fees.
For just £15 per month, you can ensure a child gains an education.
We will send you regular newsletters and, once a year, a letter from your sponsored child with their photo…so you can see what a difference you are making.
100% of your sponsorship & donations go to the schools, none of it is spent on UK marketing or admin.
Click here to download your sponsorship form:Sponsor a child