Brighton teacher to take school bus to Calais

Posted On 28 Sep 2015 at 12:52 pm

A Brighton teacher is hoping to take a bus full of pop-up classrooms to Calais to allow hundreds of people can be taught languages and new skills to help them move on with their journey.

School busKate McAllister and a group of fellow teachers, plus nurses, artists and musicians, have launched a fundraising campaign to buy a bus and kickstart their project.

She has already raised a third of the £4,000 needed, and now needs more donations to get the makeshift school on the road to France.

She said: “Everyone’s doing a lot to give food and shelter and healthcare, but Unicef says that education is as important.

“People are queuing for clothes, showers, everything. While they’re queuing they could be practising their English or French or looking for jobs or learning new skills, both children and adults.

“A bus can itself be a classroom as well as storing pop up classrooms – literally just a boxes containing dry whiteboards, pens, dictionaries and smartphones so people can take a box of resources to somewhere where there are people gathered.

“One of our group has already been to Calais and another has experience of setting up schools in Africa.  We’re now getting together volunteers who are going to go and teach the first set of lessons and get together people who are in the camp and know the skillset which is already there amongst the refugees themselves.


“I rang around a few bus companies to see if any buses were for sale, and I was told to try eBay. I had a look and there is a company which is selling three buses for £3,000 plus VAT each.

“We’re asking people to put in whatever they can afford and once we have reached our target we have found a bus driver who can drive the bus to Brighton and onto Calais. I have then got teachers and nurses, artists and music therapists.

“One donation of £5 will got a really long way. Each pop up school can teach 40 people, and we can fit 20 pop up schools in the bus so we can reach 800 people who could be learning and accessing education.

“What people need is a solution to to help them move on with their journey. They can look at the job market in the countries they’re going to and work out what qualifications they would need and hopefully we can teach them.”


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