Your Life You Choose

Directions Project UK

On Thursday 26th March 2015 an initiative called Your Life You Choose visited Kingsbury High School to deliver a programme to Year 7 students.

The multi-agency initiative is aimed at deterring young people from a life of crime by making them aware of the consequences; it draws on the knowledge, expertise and experiences of Magistrates, the Metropolitan Police Service, Victim Support, Her Majesty’s Prison Service and ex-offenders from Directions Project UK.

The 300 students met local Magistrates and were surprised to hear that they volunteer their time for free to protect our community; they met two Brent Police Officers who highlighted the seriousness of joint enterprise; they listened intently to ex-offenders who spoke in detail about life in prison, regrets and turning their lives around; they were repulsed to hear about used and reused prison wear and wall-less toilets from a Prison Manager at HMP Wormwood Scrubs; and they listened to representatives from Victim Support who offered advice and guidance about what to do if they ever find themselves in danger.

Michael Sherwood, Custodial Manager at HMP Wormwood Scrubs said “Projects like these are invaluable in informing our young people of the consequences of coming to prison, the future problems of having a criminal record and the pain caused to both victim and their family when they commit a crime. We do not do enough as a society to teach our young people how to stay away from crime – everything they see is trivialised on TV or it makes great drama. Real life hurts more.

“I have been assisting with projects like this for several years now and when you see the light switch on in a young persons eyes when they finally understand the problems associated with committing crime, going to prison, and having a life afterwards is very rewarding. Having watched the Police, the Magistrates, the Prison Service, Victim Support and ex-offenders all explain what happens, how it happens and what to expect, students reactions are classic. I for one enjoy delivering my piece of the project and I hope that it keeps at least that one person from crime.

“Attending Kingsbury was a great joy – meeting students who, really wanted to know how things work, some really great questions, some of which I would have expected from an older class. I hope they got as much enjoyment out of the day as I did delivering the talks. – Hope to see you all on my next visit.”

Paul Murdoch, Founder & Director of Directions Project UK said “Myself and the team found it so great at your school. The students had lots of good questions and behaved exceptionally. We would like to thank all of them for being focussed and listening so intently to the message we had for them. They are all champions and will be a success – only themselves can stop them.”

The day culminated in an assembly where students heard from The Mayor of Brent, Councillor Kana Naheerathan, followed by a question and answer session where students asked the visitors challenging questions to which the answers were wholeheartedly honest.

Year Leader at Kingsbury High School, Helen Snow, said “The respect and understanding that was given by our visitors and all at Kingsbury High showed that this programme was a huge benefit to us all. Hopefully our students will keep this day with them for the rest of their days so that they can make positive choices in their future.”

The Village School’s New Toys


Following our very successful Christmas Fair held at Kingsbury High School in December 2014 during the lunch hour in our Lower School Library, the money raised – £250.00, has been used by Charmaine Bourton, The Village School’s (TVS) librarian to buy some new toys for TVS students.

Charmaine told us “I am putting the toys out gradually, so they are having a treat a week! Our students are all enjoying their new toys and say a big thank you to everyone who helped raise the money.”

Oxford University Visit


In March, 24 Year 11 students took the opportunity to visit the University of Oxford at the invitation of two former Kingsburians, Amro Nagdy and Sahar Abas, who are currently undergraduates at the institution. Oxford is ranked at the top of The Times Good University Guide in the UK and is in the top five of the World University League Tables for the “high quality of its resources, teaching and research”. Amro Nagdy is reading PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) at Trinity College, and Sahar Abas is reading Law (Jurisprudence) at Christ Church.

The Year 11 students began the day with an introduction to the university at Oriel College led by Emma Bausch, an Oxford outreach officer, and worked through some interesting course research and careers tasks, followed by lunch in the dining hall of the college. Amro then led a tour of Oxford landmarks – including the Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera, and the Sheldonian Theatre – before proudly showing the students around his own college, Trinity, with plenty of anecdotes and tips along the way. Sahar joined the group at this point to give her own perspective on studying at Oxford and advice about applying to the university.

The students were able to ask questions throughout the day and gained a very vivid sense of what it would be like to study at Oxford. Indeed, the visit seemed to have a powerful effect on the students, with some declaring their intentions to get the necessary grades at GCSE and target this institution in the future. We wish them every success in their endeavours!

Taylor Wessing Insight Day


On Friday 13th March 2015 two Year 10 students were selected to spend a day at, law firm, Taylor Wessing.

Teodora Vodislav and Enilla Ansari were chosen for the opportunity because of their interest in pursuing a career in law in the future.

The insight day, organised by Future First and Taylor Wessing, began with an icebreaker which helped students bond with their peers from other schools; students then met employees and partners of Taylor Wessing in a Careers Carousel where they interacted with and questioned staff from a wide range of jobs at the firm from PR Managers to IT Technicians and Trainee Solicitors to Legal Secretaries; students then built a life-size picture of themselves populating it with their interests, hobbies, hopes and aspirations which they used in the CV building workshop that followed.

During lunch, students were able to network with staff; take in the impressive views of London from the ninth floor of the building; and were given a guided tour of the offices.

The day came to a close with three debates where students, mentored by staff at Taylor Wessing, worked in groups to prepare and debate ethical and legal issues.

Enilla said “I had an amazing time at Taylor Wessing. It really allowed me to understand the different types of law in depth and allowed me to experience what it would be like to work in a law firm. My favourite part of the day was when I got to debate in front of lawyers.”

Amy Finch, Senior Programme Officer at Future First said “Teodora and Enilla were a credit to the school, throwing themselves into all the workshops and asking lots of questions of the volunteers. We wish them the very best of luck with their future careers – whether or not they decided to take up law!”

Games Club


Games Club at Kingsbury High School offers a safe place for students to let off steam over a variety of games including Jenga, cards or a selection of board games.

Year 7 student, Aman Siyani, helps run the club and said “I thought that people who do not like going outside would have a blast if they came to Games Club every Wednesday. As I was the first to know about it, I decided to help run it and since this day it has become a lot more popular.”

Students of all year groups are welcome to attend. Games Club runs every Wednesday in room 16.

The Big Pedal


On Wednesday 4th March 2015, Kingsbury School Sports Partnership teamed up with Brent Council and Sustrans to bring The Big Pedal to Kingsbury High School.

Year 8 students were able try out a range of weird and wonderful bikes including tandem bicycles, scooters and penny-farthings; a BMX track was assembled on site where students learnt to gain greater control of a BMX when faced with various obstacles and terrain; and students also had the option of trying a bikeability, cycling proficiency, taster course.

Andrew Cremin, Sustrans Bike It Plus Officer, said “The biggest attraction for most had to be the BMX pump track with lots of pupils getting to try out their skills on the wooden track. The best part was seeing those not too sure about the whole thing getting stuck in, trying the track and finding some hidden talents for BMX that they never knew they had.”

Thanks to former student, Louis Cheshire, for assisting with photography.