This week: Healthy Schools, Black History Month
I am very proud to announce that Camden School for Girls has been awarded Healthy Schools status. This is supported by the Mayor of London and by Camden Local Authority and gives recognition to the school for its efforts to promote students’ health and well-being while they are in school and in their lives outside school. The aim is to encourage students to be physically active and to eat healthily, and to develop positive eating and exercise habits that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Being healthy is not just about physical well-being, it is about mental health as well, and we have taken a number of new steps towards promoting mental and emotional health. We have a new Learning Mentor, a Deputy Head of Year and a Deputy Safeguarding Lead, all of whom will work closely with students who need additional support. Learning about mental health and emotional resilience forms an important part of our PHSEE programme.
Please see the school website for details of the excellent food on offer in our Dining Hall and the PE and PHSEE curriculum. The Daily Banda will tell you about the many clubs and activities which keep our students physically active and stress-free.
Finally, we are improving our school grounds, as you will have seen in last week’s Friday News. Young people love to be outside and to be active at break and lunchtime, and we have made real strides in improving our outdoor facilities, with many thanks to CASCA for their astonishing fund-raising drives which have made this possible.
Many thanks to colleagues in school who made this possible and to Camden LA for their guidance.
Black History Month
To celebrate Black History Month we have been adding a small paragraph each day to our daily banda, highlighting famous black people, present and past, and their achievements, often through very hard times.
Mary Seacole (1805-1881)
Mary Seacole was born and grew up in Jamaica, but came over to England in 1854. She asked the War Office if she could go to help wounded soldiers who were fighting in the Crimean War (1853-1856) but she wasn’t allowed. So she raised the money herself and travelled to Balaclava, Ukraine. Here she looked after British soldiers who had been injured. Despite all that she did, after she died not many people knew who she was or the amazing work that she had done. Most people remembered Florence Nightingale, who helped many people to. In 2016 a statue of her was built outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780)
The first African prose writer published in England, Sancho became a financially independent male householder and the first known black British voter.
Born on a slave ship, Sancho’s birthplace is unknown. When his mother and father died, the orphan Sancho was taken to England. Working as a butler, his intelligence was recognised by his employer, the Duke of Montagu, who sponsored his creative endeavours. Sancho wrote plays, poetry and music, then set up a shop in Westminster, which became a meeting place for writers, artists and musicians.
Lilian Bader (1918-2015)
Lilian Bader was born in 1918 in Liverpool and went on to become one of the very first black women to join the British Armed Forces.
Starting out as a canteen assistant at an army base in Yorkshire, she eventually trained as an instrument repairer, before becoming a leading aircraftwoman and soon afterwards earning herself the rank of Corporal.
When she left the army to have children of her own, she retained and got a degree from the University of London to become a teacher.
Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797)
Equiano’s own autobiography became pivotal for the abolitionist movement, earning him fame and fortune. It describes near unfathomable horrors of captivity, before he purchased freedom around 22 years of age, a phenomenal achievement. Life as a free black man in the colonies was dangerous. Equiano was almost sent back into slavery. This prompted a move to London. His book was one of the earliest personal accounts of slavery by a black writer, roused public opinion and was an instant bestseller.
Claudia Jones (1915-1964)
Claudia Jones was born in Trinidad before moving to the United States. In the 1950s she was deported from the USA for her political views and moved to the UK. In the UK she established the St Pancras carnival in 1959, which became the Notting Hill Carnival. Jones wanted to set up the carnival to celebrate the West Indian community in the UK and the Notting Hill Carnival is now the largest carnival in Europe and attracts over two million people each year.
William Cuffay (1788-1870)
Cuffay – formerly an enslaved man from St Kitts – was a powerful orator. He campaigned for universal suffrage and emerged as a leader of the Chartists. Part of the first mass political movement in Britain, fighting for political rights for the working classes, Cuffay was arrested and accused of ‘conspiring to levy war’ against Queen Victoria. Transported to Tasmania, he received a pardon three years later. However he elected to stay, campaigning for democratic rights until his death in 1870. Though he has been largely forgotten, his legacy remains an inspiration for those who believe in the rights of the marginalised and the poor.
Baroness Doreen Lawrence (1952-present)
Baroness Lawrence is a campaigner whose fight for justice began following the murder of her teenage son Stephen in 1993. Since then she has tirelessly fought for justice for her son and other victims of racist crime. She was one of the carrier of the Olympic flag in the opening ceremony of the Olypic Games in London in 2012 and was awarded a peerage in 2013 and now sits in the House of Lords.
Ira Aldridge (1807-1867)
Ira Aldridge was one of the highest paid actors in the world at a time when black roles – such as Othello – were played by white men with blackened skin. Born in New York before the abolition of slavery, he emigrated to the UK in order to pursue opportunities impossible for a black man in the US. He went on to establish himself as a formidable Shakespearean actor throughout Europe.