PUPILS have helped make ‘drastic improvements’ to a school in South Africa.

St Peter’s School in Bournemouth has supplied solar panels to the whole of Shea O’Connor Combined School in KwaZulu-Natal.

The school, in a deprived area of South Africa, had been struggling with electricity problems, and had its lessons were regularly disrupted as a result.

Determined to help, Martin Ridley, the international coordinator at St Peter's, began running fundraising projects with St Peter’s pupils and staff.

These included sponsored walks from Southbourne to Sandbanks and setting up fundraising pages.

In total, St Peter’s raised £18,000 to fund solar panels for the whole of Shea school - including all of the infrastructure and insurance costs.

Bournemouth Echo: The solar panels have been installed at Shea O’Connor Combined School The solar panels have been installed at Shea O’Connor Combined School (Image: Martin Ridley)

Lilia and Alexia are two year 11 students who raised over £600 for the project. They said they felt bad for the pupils at the partner school who weren’t getting the same education as them.

However, it was 'great to be able to make a difference and to help others'.

Martin added: "Shea deserves every support as students and staff only want the best for their students.

“So often there's a problem that is no fault of their own and through their great resilience, dogged leadership and sheer determination they will find a way to move forwards but power outages fundamentally undermine their provision.

“By installing solar panels, [St Peter's] has again shown that their community can and will step up to help.”

In an email thanking St Peter’s for its fundraising efforts, Nicholas Nxumalo, headteacher at Shea school, said: “Shea O'Connor Combined School will no longer be the same. As of today, the installation has been completed and is functioning perfectly well.

“This move will go a long way. Teachers' lessons henceforth will no longer be interrupted by power outages.

“It will also maximise the amount of subject content knowledge imparted to pupils as there will be less writing on whiteboards and more on projecting prepared work.”

The email concluded that St Peter’s School had made a ‘big difference’ to students and teachers at Shea.