A NEWLY-QUALIFIED primary school teacher has spoken of his incredible experiences of teaching in Kenya, following his return from a school in Nairobi.

Richard Atkins, of Addingham, who teaches at Crossflatts Primary School, spent eight days in Kenya during half-term as part of a school international leadership scheme.

“It really was life-changing,” he said.

“It changed my views on what is important in our society. I’d recommend exploring Kenya to anyone. It’s beautiful and the people are so friendly.”

Mr Atkins, 26, travelled with four staff from Bingley Grammar, as part of the school’s leadership scheme.

This was led by modern foreign languages head Jamil Parapia, and is designed to help aspiring teachers develop leadership skills while in an unfamiliar and challenging environment.

Mr Atkins said he spent most of his time working with children at a primary school in Nairobi called Hospital Hill, while the Bingley Grammar staff visited a secondary school called Jamhuri High School.

He said: “We taught the children some English and also did some drama, and artwork with them.

“We did some David Hockney-style art, bringing a bit of Yorkshire to Kenya!

“The school I worked in was in a very beautiful, green setting, but it has 1,700 children and there are up to 60 pupils per class.

“As the Kenyan government doesn’t have the budget to pay for enough teachers, there aren’t enough teachers for every class.

“But because education is so important to them some of the children take it upon themselves to teach the other pupils whenever a teacher isn’t available.

Mr Atkins said Nairobi was busy and congested, but added that he and the other participants had a chance to get out of the city and go on safari for three days.

A spokesman for the leadership programme said: “The Bingley Grammar School International Leadership Programme continues to go from strength to strength, and Mr Parapia is already looking into next year’s trip.”