Educational delegation follows in Maurice Egerton’s footsteps to Kenya

February sees the seventh 4,000 mile visit to Kenya of a delegation of teachers, parents and local business representatives including Tatton Park as part of the continuing partnership between Egerton Primary Schools in Knutsford and in Kenya.

This unique collaboration is a lasting legacy of Maurice, 4th and last Baron Egerton of Tatton (1874 – 1958), who in his lifetime set up a school in his beloved Kenya  to educate the children of his estate workers in Njoro. His uncle Wilbraham Egerton (1832 – 1909) had already established a school (Egerton Primary) in his home town of Knutsford in 1893.

IMG_0187It is over ten years ago that Alison Hooper and the then head gardener at Tatton Sam Youd established the link between the two schools which provided the theme for Tatton’s RHS Flower show garden 2006. The vision was to develop global learning amongst its pupils enabling children at both schools to become truly global citizens. The learnings are based upon the universal themes of peace and conflict, diversity, social justice, sustainability and interdependence to empower pupils to be effective global citizens with high aspirations.

With initial support from the British Council the link has developed significantly and now operates as the Egerton School’s Foundation whose aim is to sustain an equitable global school partnership between the two schools.

Through Alison’s works inspired by the Egerton family’s philanthropy  there are now over thirty Cheshire East schools that have similar links with a Kenyan school. This ten year journey has resulted in over 10,000 school children in Kenya and England becoming better people and would not have happened without the impact of the Egerton family of Tatton Park. The initiative is regarded as unique in the learning sector in that no other educational link has formed from the pioneering work of the owners of a significant country estate. The influence that the Egerton family has had on two communities over 4,000 miles apart is considerable.

Alison Hooper commented “The Egerton School’s Foundation has been instrumental in perpetuating the legacy of the Egerton family regarding education for children and young people and its contribution to its communities in Knutsford and in Kenya. What is really wonderful is that our work has attracted the interest and support of so many other people. This serves to continue to expose the children in both schools to the importance of education, community involvement and equity. We can learn and achieve so much more together.”

The delegation arrives on Feb 6th to spend  ten days in Kenya staying at Egerton university also founded by Maurice Egeron. This year the party includes teachers from Little Bollington Primary School and St Mary’s Primary School in Middlewich who will be visiting their respective partner schools to develop their shared approach to global learning.  Parents of all schools play an active and valuable role in the work of the Foundation and have assisted in projects including painting school rooms and supporting with the successful installation of electricity at the school. The work has also extended out of the playground and is now embracing responsible contributions from local business including Roberts Bakery who delivered their bread project in Kenya in 2014 resulting in more than 200 children baking bread and learning about mass bread production in the UK.

Tatton Park will be represented by Jayne Chapman, farm manager, who will be spending time researching  the farming link to tell as part of a new ground breaking Field to Fork initiative funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund –  `Two Centuries of Farming at Tatton Dale Farm’. This cutting edge project will help bring alive the agricultural, architectural, technological, social and cultural heritage of Tatton Dale Farm told through the mouths of former workers, its buildings, machinery, livestock and traditional agricultural skills. The link to the Egerton estate in Kenya will be a fascinating strand to this learning experience. Tatton Farm in Kenya is the research farm of Egerton University which began as an agricultural university.

Jayne Chapman commented “This is an amazing opportunity to visit the Egerton School and University in Njoro. I am so excited to learn more about food and farming in Kenya and how it differs from what we do on the estate today. We are having a host of characters to bring our Field to Fork project alive and I hope to bring back lots of photos and videos to be shown over here about the partnership and legacy between Njoro and Tatton Park.”

The Tatton Park Charitable Trust are supporting this initiative through part funding the February trip so that the legacy of Lord Egerton’s Kenya link is nurtured for current and future generations to enjoy.

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