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Cambridge 'superhead' sets up makeshift school in French refugee camp

Rory Fox has set up a makeshift school in France. Photo: ITV News Anglia

By Chloe Keedy

He's known for his tough approach to teaching and strict stance on school uniform, but Cambridge headteacher Rory Fox has left all that behind to set up a makeshift school for children in a refugee camp near Calais.

A one time 'superhead' tasked with turning round failing academies, Mr Fox now runs his classes from a leaky tent and turns up to work in muddy wellies and an old fleece.

Mr Fox has to work with limited resources. Credit: ITV News Anglia

There is no electricity at the camp; no school computers or interactive whiteboards.

Mr Fox and his colleagues rely on a few basic resources, most of which have been donated by schools in Cambridgeshire.

"I'm used to working in a classroom where we've got interactive whiteboards and speakers and if technology fails it's the end of the world.

To go from that to a muddy tent has been quite humbling and reminded me of my values when it comes to education."

– Natalie Scott, Teacher
The camp is situated in Grande-Synthe. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The camp is situated in Grande-Synthe, about 25 miles east of Calais.

There are thought to be between 2,000 and 3,000 migrants living there.

Most of the children here speak Kurdish and many have been out of education for 2 or 3 years.

Conditions are pretty bleak in the camp. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The first job for Rory and his team is teaching them how to say their name in English, and what each part of their body is called.

The hope is that if they find themselves alone and injured or unwell - they'll be able to seek help.

Inspired by their experiences at the camp, Rory and his colleagues have set up a charity called Edlumino.

They are now calling on more teachers to join them so that they can keep delivering education to where it's needed most.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Chloe Keedy