St. Mary's is part of a Lewisham pilot scheme to raise the awareness of racial inequality in schools. We also wanted to look at how this affects our families in housing and health.
We began the process by having a "house meeting" in school with parents. This involves everyone taking a turn to speak for 1 minute and allows everyone to have their say. Two questions were presented;
From the discussions it was clear that there are lots of areas where our children face race inequality - from the variation of reading books offered to the motifs found on glasses in Specsavers for children! Health inequality also appeared to concern our parents.
This is just the start of many conversations we need to have with our community in school to fully understand the issues and we need more parents to take part so do come along next time!
At St. Mary's we are very proud of our courageous advocacy campaigns with Lewisham Citizens which both parents and children have been part of.
The first win came in March 2022 following an extensive campaign by lots of schools and charities to allow Free School Meals for all families who have no recourse to public funds. A former pupil at this school and his mum attended an MPs briefing at Westminster with Mrs Tildesley to share their experiences and this was the catalyst to the announcement made by the government to allow all pupils FSM regardless of their parents' immigration status.
The second win came in June 2022 - a concession from the government so that not all young children have to pay £1012 to become a British Citizen. Our children have been campaigning for the abolition of the fee for a number of years and even went to the Home Office some years ago to draw attention to this. You can read about the campaign below which includes a quote from one of our parents...
We are proud to be a Sanctuary School and we will continue to campaign for the right of everyone to be welcomed and treated with respect and dignity.
Some of our parents and children went to Laurence House to meet up with the re-elected Mayor to remind him of the promises that he made around housing issues when he came to our school for the Lewisham Citizens Accountability Assembly in April.
Damien Egan promised that if he was re-elected he would work with us to improve conditions, care and communications for Lewisham residents. Together with representatives from lots of other organisations in Lewisham we congratulated the Mayor on his re-election by giving him some bunting to hang in his office. We also invited him to play a wordsearch game - some of the children from St Mary's helped him to find the words:
Find out about the community projects we are working on