Education & Family

Cumbrian school linked to earthquake city

Image caption Learning how to make rice balls during Cumbria visit to Kita-Sendai Junior High last year

Two schools in Cumbria, twinned with three schools in the Japanese city of Sendai, have been waiting anxiously for news of pupils and teachers in the partner schools.

Tomizawa, Kita-Sendai, and Hirose Junior High schools are in the city closest to the epicentre of the recent earthquake and tsunami.

Earlier this week Sendai schools inspector Reiko Kumagai contacted the Cumbrian schools with news that pupils in all three Japanese schools are safe.

Ms Kumagai told them that other schools, nearer the coast, had been badly affected.

Big screen

When news of the earthquake and tsunami broke on Friday March 11, Stainburn School and Science College ran the news on the school's big screen allowing pupils to keep up with the story.

Stainburn School teacher Alison Phillips said, "All classes were in shock and horror. They felt it much more because it was somewhere they had sent emails to."

In the days that followed, the Cumbrian schools scoured the web for news of their Japanese friends.

Ms Phillips and pupil Natasha, then thirteen, visited the schools in Sendai a year ago with a colleague and a pupil from Appleby Grammar School.

Natasha was particularly concerned about the children she had met and made friends with.

Image caption Pupils in Stainburn, Cumbria, send their love to Sendai schools

Sending love to Japan

Everyone at Stainburn School is delighted to hear their friends are well.

Pupils have put together a video message to send to them.

This is being co-ordinated by Jhendge Junior High in Taiwan which is also part of the British Council's Connecting Classrooms cluster.

World Class partners, the Japan Society, are also helping UK schools to send letters to schools in the worst affected areas, Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures.

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