Lincroft Middle School

During the last week in June 2008 I taught fourteen African drumming workshops at Lincroft Middle School in the charming village of Oakley in Bedfordshire, as part of their Arts Week celebrations. After teaching 420 children the joyous traditional Guinean rhythm of Djole, I rehearsed a group of twenty to perform to the whole school in assembly, during which I directed a choir of 750 children to sing the song.

Sadly no photos were taken, but this was a fabulous time that I'll never forget. I really pulled out all the stops and went every extra mile possible, teaching extra sessions in breaks and rehearsing with hip-hop dancers at lunchtimes. It's the most challenging and rewarding work I've ever done, and has taken me to wholly new levels, hopefully the kids too.

The staff were pleased and invited me back in 2009 and 2010, this time also with Justine teaching dance to accompany the drumming. We hope to continue working with the music staff to further their knowledge of African music, as a legacy of our visits.

In 2012, Arts Week was expanded to also include neighbouring Harrold Priory and Margaret Beaufort Middle Schools, where Justine, Barry and I delivered drum+dance workshops and performances which once again thrilled pupils and teachers so much that Justine and I returned to all three schools in 2013.

In 2014, Chrissie and I educated and entertained pupils at these same three schools to celebrate Black History Month. It was nice that many children remembered me from when I'd taught them in Year 1/2/3 four or five years ago!