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

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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

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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!

Games Club

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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

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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.

Mock Election Day at Kingsbury High

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On Wednesday 4th March 2015 Kingsbury High School held a Mock Election Day organised to show Year 9 students how the electoral process works in a democracy in the run up to the May 2015 General Election.

Year 13 Politics and Sociology students represented all five main political parties: Labour; Conservatives; Liberal Democrats; Green Party and UKIP. The candidates had researched their party’s policies and delivered a passionate speech at the hustings. They then went door to door canvassing at the classrooms of the Year 9 groups, where they were grilled about their policies and asked lots of questions by the inquisitive students.

After listening to and questioning the politicians, the Year 9s then made their way to the polling station in the school Library, which was very professionally staffed by Year 12 students, where they all voted for the party and candidates that had won them over.

Head of the Humanities Faculty, Ms Vishnuram, oversaw the day and said “Only 12% of 18-24 year olds are expected vote in the next election and this something that we want to change at Kingsbury High because we passionately believe that active participation and engagement in the democratic process is important. I was very excited about the Mock Election Day and the actual experience on the day went way beyond my expectations. The Sixth Form students were phenomenal – extremely charismatic and knowledgeable, showing a real understanding of the political parties they were representing.

Sixth Form student, Alizay Agha, said “Even as an A level politics student who is involved in local politics outside of school I was still able to benefit from the day and learn even more about parties who I wasn’t totally familiar with. If it was great for us Sixth Formers, then I hope the Year 9s had an equally great time learning about all the different potent issues in today’s society and how different parties want to tackle them. Seeing such young individuals have strong differing political viewpoints which I did not have at their age was certainly interesting and at points, even inspiring. It was a day to remember.”

International Women’s Day 2015

Capgemini
Kingsbury High School’s Head of Computing, Manisha Sanghani and three Sixth Form students were invited to the Capgemini offices in Holborn on Thursday 5th March 2015 to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Capgemini, one of the world’s leading IT and consulting companies, hosted the event with guest speaker Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities.

The lucky Sixth Form Students, Radhika Parmar, Bindiya Ganesh and Jayna Patel, listened to the talk followed by a Q&A session; and were able to network with Nicky Morgan and Capgemini staff, including Christine Hodgson, Capgemini CEO; and Michelle Perkins, Director of the Schools Outreach Programme.

Manisha said “We’ve been really fortunate to have been invited to these wonderful events for the last couple of years. Our students really enjoy seeing what it’s like to work in this corporate setting and benefit immensely from listening to such inspiring guest speakers. One former student was so inspired after attend this event that she applied for a Capgemini apprenticeship and is now fully immersed into the programme.”