Joshua Perkins-Principal of Al Raja school in Bahrain, has spent the week at St David’s College, seeing first-hand how children with learning difficulties are taught in a mainstream education school. His school does not yet provide support for additional learning needs, but it is something he’s determined to change.
Al Raja school is a pioneering school in many respects, having been established in the 1800s for a school for girls. There is a multi-cultural mix of Christian and Muslim, eastern and western, Bahraini and expatriates. Mr Perkins believes the school shares many of the same foundations as SDC and hopes to build a flourishing partnership between both educational establishments.
“This week has been an inspiring one for me in many respects,” said the father of three, who originally hails from Wisconsin, in the American mid-west.
“It has made me more determined than ever to change things at Al Raja, so that we can one day accommodate children who have various additional needs.
“At present in Bahrain as a whole, children with dyslexia or whom have other disabilities don’t have the help they need.”
He continued: “There are children in my school who are struggling, and they are having to muddle along, and it is a frustrating for the child, their parents and the staff.
“Many of them will be suffering from low self-esteem and what has really struck me about St David’s College is that the children who most probably would have been marginalised in other schools, are flourishing and confident young people, who feel no shame whatever in being able to talk openingly about their struggles.”
“I’ve noticed the teachers and pupils seem to have a purpose here, and although all teachers care for their pupils, they seem to care a little bit more here,” added Mr Perkins.