Isaac Newton School’s big leap forward in 2018

Humanist Association outing to Lake Nabugabo

Peter Kisirinya, the Director of Isaac Newton High School, has just sent this report of impressive progress during 2018.

“The school ended its 2018 academic year on 7th December with a total of 573 students, out of which 369 are boarding students with 194 girls and 175 boys. This year we are proud to report tremendous achievements. Our students have performed even better in national examinations. Funds from supporters of Uganda Humanist Schools Trust have enabled us to make great strides forward in the physical development of the school. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Learning science by doing

    As well as teaching the subjects prescribed in the national curriculum we have introduced special classes on critical thinking.

  • We teach science subjects mainly using a practical approach and this has encouraged our students to like science and to perform better in examinations, whereas in many other schools science is taught by talk and chalk and is seen to be difficult and uninteresting.
  • We have completed a large new classroom block, which will enable us to run two parallel classes in each year and so reduce class sizes and improve the quality of learning.
  • The classroom block includes an additional science laboratory – named to commemorate the life of Ian Gurney, a Physicist who had been an active member of North-East Humanists. The science lab has been fitted out with benches and stools. The next step will be to purchase equipment and chemicals so it can function as a specialist laboratory for A-level students.
  • New classroom block with science lab

    We built an underground water tank of 98,000 litres at the girls’ wing to harvest all rainwater from the girls hostels. There are no prospects of getting a mains water supply, but the new tank will give us greater security over water supplies

  • We made 125 new smart examination chairs for the examination hall and students have used them during the recently concluded national exams. They are extra comfortable and we are hoping for even better grades this year.
  • We have had a total of 74 O level candidates and 40 A-level candidates sitting national exams from our school. We are very hopeful that they will produce good results.
  • UHST supporters provide scholarships for more than 70 students. These enable bright students to access education that would be seemingly impossible without the said assistance.
  • David Pollock teaching Humanism

    We hosted visitors from the UK – from UHST in a Friendship week in July and David Pollock from Humanist UK, who met the humanist students association and gave a talk about humanism.

  • A total of 326 girls received reusable sanitary towels from UHST UK and this has improved attendance of girls in school by 40%.
  • UHST has provided more learning materials in the form of laboratory equipment and text books, and we are now proud of being one of the best equipped schools in the whole region.
  • Girls are accommodated in spacious modern hostels and the new girls hostel – named after Malala Yusufzai and funded by St Louis Ethical Society – ranks as the most modern school hostel in the region.
  • The school employs a total of 53 people directly, excluding those that are contracted to do works at the school.
  • New Power line beside computer lab

    Through a Uganda government rural electrification project, UHST provided £10,000 and the World Bank a further £90,000, to extended a high voltage power from Hydro power dams on the River Nile to the school and the villages around it. Now a total if 58 homesteads are poised to be connected to the national power grid. This initiative will transform lives in the area. The power will greatly boost living standards and economic development in the area, making possible the establishment of agricultural processing factories and, at the same time, bringing more academic progress in school as students will have lighting for studying in the evenings.

  • Construction of retaining walls

    We are currently constructing a perimeter fence around the girls hostel to improve the security.

  • We have works on the compound to reduce the steep drops arising from levelled sections for buildings. We are also constructing steps between buildings.
  • Academic grades have improved in all classes and more bright students are seeking admission. We are hopeful that this year performance in national examinations will be better than ever.
  • The school is the biggest enterprise in the area and is itself helping to promote economic development by employing staff and purchasing foodstuffs and other materials from the local community. In 2018 the school paid taxes of 3,245,000 Uganda shillings (£700) to local government and close to 5 million shillings (over £1,000) to central government in addition 6 million shillings (£1,300) to the social security saving scheme of staff.”