Head teacher Geoff Barton invited to help in Iraq

Geoff Barton Geoff Barton says he hopes the trip will be mutually beneficial

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A Suffolk head teacher is travelling to Iraq to advise on its education system.

Geoff Barton and three of his colleagues from King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds will travel to Kurdistan for a five-day visit.

Mr Barton said: "We're going across to learn as much from them as we hope they might learn from us.

"What they are interested in developing particularly is science education, which we're strong at, and PE, which is something we specialise in."

Head teachers and officials from Iraq visited King Edward VI earlier in the year.

Pupils in shifts

Mr Barton said that from the conversations he had with the representatives, he expects teaching facilities in Kurdistan to be "pretty difficult".

"One of them said because of the poor state of facilities there they had to have the students in school in shifts - three a day.

"It was the only way they could get the accommodation to fit the students.

"One of the ministers of education who came across, what he said they were particularly surprised by was how much authority head teachers get here.

"We can change our school day, our curriculum - that's unheard of in Iraq and I think they're interested in talking about what the implications would be if they gave more autonomy and more power to the leadership in their schools."

Mr Barton said three other schools from the UK would also be travelling in the party.

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