'What I’ve witnessed gives me great confidence in what we can achieve together'

Celebrations at Highgate Wood School saw pupils get places at universities and colleges all over the

Celebrating exam results, students at Highgate Wood School reunited - Credit: Highgate Wood School

With schools and colleges set to start the new autumn term across the borough next week, I’ve seen first-hand the power of good they can do for our children and young people here in Haringey in challenging and unprecedented times.

Earlier this month, I visited Haringey Sixth Form College and Highgate Wood School on A-level results day (August 10) and the Haringey Learning Partnership and Heartlands High School on GCSE results day (August 12).

It was really touching to see the bond that has developed between these young people and their headteachers, assistant heads, teachers and support staff, especially after everything they’ve all had to experience, and endure, over the last 18 months or so with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the stories I heard of what their grades meant to these young people and their families moved me to tears. It was life-affirming, and life-changing, stuff in a lot of cases.

Thursday 27th May 2021. Haringey Council AGM. Photo: David Mirzoeff

Cllr Zena Brabazon has been touched by seeing the relationships built up within schools - Credit: David Mirzoeff 2021

The council has played its part this summer too as we prioritised the delivery of our 2021 Summer Fun and Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programmes – two successful initiatives we can be very proud of overall.

Again, it was heart-warming to see our children and young people engaged in physical activities and enjoying each other’s company as the pandemic has – as with all of us – undoubtedly taken its toll on their mental health and physical wellbeing.

We all have the wonderful Marcus Rashford to thank for government initiatives like the HAF programme and I was delighted to see Highgate Wood School unveil a mural to him last week. A fitting tribute to a fine young man who has already done so much for this country, both on and off the pitch.

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This whole experience has for me amply demonstrated how interdependent we are, and how strong public services are integral to a decent and humane society. It has brought our services closer together and shown just what can be achieved when we all work towards a common goal – and for the common good. It has been a terrific, collective effort for Haringey’s children.

What I’ve witnessed this summer, and over the last 18 months, gives me great confidence in just what we can continue to achieve together for our children and young people in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Cllr Zena Brabazon (Lab) is cabinet member for early years, children and families, Haringey Council.