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Posted on: June 18th 2017

A community in mourning, London is hurting.

We were delighted this week to perform and host some key community events. Thanks, as ever, to our energetic head of performing and creative arts Ms Ongley for facilitating and developing such a huge extra curricular programme that supports and develops our students and gives back to our local community at the same time. Our shared community values make us who we are.

I have had much time to think about community, its impact, the functions it serves, over the last week watching with heart in hand the events around the tragic Grenfell tower fire . I taught in this area for a number of years. Those tower blocks, and those of Trellig Tower nearby, were landmarks for students, and we knew as a school that many of our families lived in extended families, with two or three generations sharing living spaces. It was a way of life and one that came with the cultural heritage of the wide dispora that are reflected in our classrooms across London.

I’ve read countless articles about who is to blame and who holds responsibility for this awful situation. More has been written than I can hope to cover here; it’s no surprise that schools have been managing for years on diminishing budgets with ever greater focus on doing more with less for longer and for more .

At some point, decisions taken in board rooms, have a clear and irreversible impact on the operational outcomes of the organisation it funds/ supports.  At Grenfell, the outcomes of this have been laid bare in the most tragic way . In the public sector, for many years, leaders and stakeholders have been warning that in some areas, organisations cannot sustain themselves. 

Public services have seen real cuts to Education, NHS, Police Numbers, Fire Fighters  , Social Care and benefits.  It isn’t my place to comment on the endemic issues that have created and caused this unforgivable loss of life. We will all make our own judgements on the information we have. What is clear however, is that in the face of devastating loss and unimaginable trauma, the community response has been awe-inspiring. I am sure I wasn’t the only one watching the coverage in tears, the bravery and humanity of so many within the community working together to support those affected. It is clear that the immediacy of grief will change and is slowly being replaced by other emotions  

It has been a sobering time recently in the UK, and it is important in the current circumstances that we continue to support our school community to make sense of these difficult times. That means actively engaging with the personal and political issues that our students raise with us as they try and make sense of the things they see and hear. In the interest of balance, as I appreciate the weight of this blog this week, its also important to highlight the positive that can come from events. This weekend marked a national ‘Great Community Get together’ in honour of the work of Jo Cox, cruelly murdered a year ago. Good things can happen from terrible loss.

Having watched this evening this clip , I feel we need to respond as a school community. On Friday, like many schools in London, I would like to support fundraising for the victims of the fire by asking students to pay £1 to wear an item of green clothing in a show of support for those affected by the fire. As a community school, I feel we need to do something tangible to give to those in need. 

Ms R 18/6/2017