'We must develop students by giving them new experiences'

Haringey Council leader Peray Ahmet meeting with students at Hornsey School for Girls

Haringey Council leader Peray Ahmet meeting with students at Hornsey School for Girls - Credit: Hornsey School for Girls

The winter in schools is never that pleasant. It’s dark when our students leave their houses and it’s dark when they go home. They work, as we do, in the grey and low-light of a winter sky. It can be depressing, but it’s at this time that light comes into our lives through the amazing experiences that schools can offer.

This week, we’ve disregarded the weather, to offer our students the following: We’ve had students go on a GCSE geography trip, others on a reward art trip, a whole year group see a theatre production, had workshops in school about safeguarding yourself on public transport, had engineers meet with our Year 8 for careers inspiration, the author Patrice Lawrence came and did an author talk and book signing and we’ve been privileged to host external 6th form partners in assemblies.

The leader of the council, Cllr Peray Ahmet, and Cllr Seema Chandwani came to hear the views of our students. We did all of this with Covid safety and mitigations paramount to our planning and execution.

Kuljit Rahelu, headteacher, Hornsey School for Girls

Headteacher Kuljt Rahelu keeps students inspired, even in the darkest months - Credit: Hornsey School for Girls

Why all these events this week? For absolutely no reason at all – every week is like this in our school. 

One of the ways all schools stretch, challenge and develop the young minds in our care is by giving them experiences that tap into their, sometimes, innate talents, or spark interest in a topic or industry they didn’t know they liked.

Schools all over the country plan their years full of activities that both defy and define the expectations of the young people of the future. In doing so, we help create the next generation of thinkers – of artists, scientists, politicians, playwrights, engineers, geographers…but most of all, we create young people with huge aspirations for their futures and that of society. Having created these expectations, we cannot let them down.

So even when its grey, dark and cold, our educational establishments offer our young people the heat and warmth of big ambitions. What a privilege.

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Kuljit Rahelu is headteacher at Hornsey School for Girls.