St John's Wood academy pilots vaccination programme for children

Samantha Green

Harris Academy St John's Wood headteacher Samantha Green wants parents to give vaccines 'careful consideration'. - Credit: Kat Pirnak

A St John's Wood academy has become one of the first schools in London to pilot an early vaccination programme for children aged 12 to 15. 

Approximately one third of the 1,400 students at Harris Academy St John’s Wood, formerly Quintin Kynaston, first received the Covid vaccine in September. 

The academy had been a Covid vaccination centre for the public earlier this year and will now continue offering the vaccine to its students as the academic year progresses. 

Headteacher Samantha Green, 51, told the Ham&High: “As a school, we are really committed to keeping the children well informed so they can make a decision. 

“We will always want to educate children about the benefits of vaccinations and, to keep the school community safe, we would want parents to give the vaccine careful consideration.

“But it’s a very personal decision and the relationship between the school and the parents is also very important.”

The vaccination programme was piloted in the same month that the school celebrated its four-year anniversary of becoming an academy.

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The Harris Federation took over Quintin Kynaston in 2017 after the school was rated “inadequate” by Ofsted and placed in special measures.

Reflecting on the school’s progress, the head said: “The thing I think serves children best is having a great teacher. 

“A teacher makes the biggest difference. If children are getting six great lessons a day every year, that is the best resource that we can give them.”

Before the school became an academy, Quintin Kynaston received negative publicity due to alumni including “Jihadi John” who left Britain in 2013 to join the Islamic State.

More recently, the school was known for headteacher Jo Shuter who quit in 2013 after using school funds for personal expenses, including spending nearly £7,000 of the school’s money celebrating her 50th birthday.

However, over the past four years Harris Academy St John’s Wood has significantly improved its academic status and was rated “good” by Ofsted in 2019.

The school also became a teaching hub for science earlier this year after being awarded £80,000 to become a Science Learning Partnership.

As the academy returns to in-person teaching, Samantha said her priority now is to revive extracurricular activities for the students and, most importantly, “bring back a bit of the joy into learning”.