I started working at Think Global at the end of June as Membership and Public Affairs Manager. Being new to the field of global learning, I am keen to meet as many key people as I can, so it was great to have the opportunity to visit Sarah Wise, Louise Boston-Mammah and Abi Leigh-Watts at DEED in Dorset, and to learn more about the work they do.
DEED is the centre for global education and learning serving Dorset and Hampshire. Over a welcome lunch from West Moors Middle School which hosts DEED, Jess McQuail (Think Global’s CEO) and myself heard about how DEED encourages and inspires teachers and pupils to develop their understanding of global issues and cultural diversity. For example, Louise told us about a fascinating project she leads on ‘Dorset’s Hidden Histories’, an exhibition and accompanying workshops exploring the 400 year history of black people in Dorset. Sarah leads on global and environmental issues, and both are Local Advisors on the Global Learning Programme (GLP). Much of DEED’s training for schools is based around the programmes of Philosophy for Children (P4C) and Exploring British Values, in addition to programmes such as Whole School Global Learning. All three members of staff have been at DEED for many years and are clearly both expert in and extremely dedicated to their work; all work far more than their allocated part-time hours.
While they are fortunate to have the support of a school which charges a minimal amount for rent and overheads, DEED covers a large geographical area (for the GLP this includes Wiltshire and Hampshire in addition to Dorset) which means that just covering the costs of getting to somewhere to deliver training can be problematic. They find that the effort and resources that are necessary to provide good quality CPD (Continuing Professional Development) for teachers, which is at the heart of their work, is not always covered by the funding they receive to be a service provider. None of DEED’s funding is for core costs, so they depend on project funding, which can be precarious.
Jess and I were pleased to get a positive response to our plans for Think Global to revitalise its relationships with its working partners to strengthen the coordination and effectiveness of the global learning network. Some of the ideas we discussed for future partnership working included advocacy, fundraising, communications and coordination of joint projects.
It was really inspiring to visit DEED, and to gain a better understanding of some of the diverse and important work that a local Development Education Centre carries out. I’m looking forward to visiting and meeting more of Think Global’s partners and working with them to find new and interesting ways to promote global learning and action for a more just and sustainable world.
Rebecca Sharkey is Membership and Public Affairs Manager at Think Global. Find out more.
Photo: Left to right: Sarah Wise, Rebecca Sharkey, Louise Boston-Mammah