A few days ago I had the privilege of discussing Croydon council's secondary education proposals with Haling Manor’s Student Council.
I went along with fellow Croydon SOS colleague Jane Eades. She was much more familiar with the surroundings being a retired teacher. As for me, it was slightly unusual to be around pupils in a school during opening hours.
I’ve attended meetings and hustings in schools but never when pupils are about. They were quietly going about there business to and from lessons.
The picture the council portrays of this school is one of unruly behaviour BUT nothing could be further from this notion. There genuinely seemed to be mutual respect between pupils and teachers.
The question and answer session with the Student Council went really well. There were two representatives from each year and the questions asked were intelligent and deliberated. It will be an absolute travesty if this school with an intake of 30 per cent who are refugees and asylum seekers is forced to close and reopen as Harris Academy South Croydon (or something similar). And it is the pupils at the school who will be the ones most affected by the changes so it is absolutely right that they fully understand what is going on.