BLACK HISTORY MONTH: H&F pupils ‘break the October barrier’

Schools across H&F are working to celebrate Black history every day – not just during October, but all year round.

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Fulham Cross Academy student Oluwalonimi Kila with her Windrush generation inspired artwork

Schools across Hammersmith & Fulham are working to celebrate our vital Black history every day – not just during Black History Month.

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Pictured from left to right - Fulham Cross Academy students Sephora Yared, Yousra Bendaoud, Levi Usen and Victor Kojm showing off their Carribean inspired arts and crafts

This term, students at Fulham Cross Academy and Shepherds Bush based Wendell Park primary school have been exploring the pioneering achievements and contributions made by a variety of local Black figures.

Supported by H&F Council, this work forms part of a wider drive to help embed representation in the school curriculum all year round.

Sally Brooks, Executive Principal at Fulham Cross Academy Trust, said: “We're really proud of our diverse community. We have been working with H&F to ensure that representation is taught across the curriculum every day of the year.”

Rosie Peters, Co-Head of Wendell Park Primary School, said: “At Wendell Park, we know that inclusion is definitely a choice. And we’re making that choice.”

Cllr Alex Sanderson, H&F Cabinet Member for Children & Education, said: “We think our rich history and cultural diversity should be celebrated every day, and we’re working closely with our schools to reflect that in our curriculums too. We want everyone to feel welcome in H&F.”

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Rianna Henriques performs for Year 1 pupils at Wendell Park primary school

Representation beyond October

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Fulham Cross Academy student, Jessica Duque, takes part in science workshop inspired by Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

Fulham Cross Academy started to ‘break down barriers’ with their first drop down day in June, which celebrated African Kingdoms in particular, and how they’ve contributed to British history.

“Black people have contributed throughout history, and we shouldn't just be celebrated in October,” said Fulham Cross Academy student Nevaeh Sampoh, Year 9. “That's why I think everybody should learn about it.”

Last week, lessons have been held across a variety of subjects to celebrate the rich legacy and contributions of the Windrush generation.

Activities included:

  • History: The history of Notting Hill Carnival, including costume making.
  • Maths: How to play a strategic game of dominoes, one of the most popular games in the Caribbeans.
  • Arts: Caribbean inspired arts and crafts, including portrait designs of women from the Windrush generation.
  • Science: How the Windrush generation affected healthcare in the UK, with special features on nutritional biochemist Charlotte Armah, paediatric nurse Dr Ngozi Edi-Osagie and Royal College of Nursing Fellow Dame Elizabeth Anionwu OBE – the first sickle cell and thalassaemia specialist nurse in Britain.

Victor Kojm, Year 9, said: “Today's event is very empowering as it gives us the opportunity to learn about the unheard voices and contributions by the black community to our society over time.”

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Pictured left to right are Fulham Cross Academy teacher Ms Gilbert, with students Usmanghani Amin and Alexander Turcanu hand-crafting a Notting Hill Carnival inspired costume

Windrush Day

The event built on the joint celebrations between H&F Council and pupils from Fulham Cross Academy at St Peter’s Square earlier this year (YouTube).

Next to musical performances, various students had prepared poetry especially for the occasion.

Among them then-year-10 pupil Mohamed Mukhtar, 16, who recited an original poem, highlighting the barriers faced and overcome by the Windrush generation.

  • Read the full poem 'Giants'


    As an empire healed its wounds from war,
    Distant workers were summoned
    Not the rich
    but the unfortunate poor
    They sailed rough seas to rebuild a land many of them never knew
    And from the rubble,
    a once mighty nation regrew

    ‘You shall be treated as equals’, they said
    ‘You shall be clothed well and comfortably fed’, they said
    Instead, they shed oceans of tears
    But these were giants  who overcame these fears

    Their achievements in the arts, NHS, entertainment and countless more
    will forever be treasured
    The brightness of their smiles, laughter and commitment to us
    can never be truly measured

    Pioneers in all sectors, they were innovators
    Undaunted, unwavering, unfazed
    They served us proudly
    while enduring the darkest days

    They are the Windrush generation
    They are the beating heart
    of this nation

    Mohamed Mukhtar (16)
    Year 10
    Fulham Cross Academy

Vishanee Naidoo, Assistant Headteacher and Representation Lead at Fulham Cross Academy, said: “Now, we hand over the baton onto other schools within the borough.

“We’re looking forward to breaking the October barrier and are really excited to see what else is achieved.”

Black history trails

To mark the start of Black History Month, H&F launched new local heritage trails.

The walks feature iconic landmarks where local and national heroes from the Black community lived and worked, including former Greensleeves Records shop in Shepherds Bush Green and Marcus Garvey Park in West Kensington.

At the event, H&F Mayor Cllr Emma Apthorp said: “Black History Month reminds us that we must make consistent effort to discover, platform and celebrate the contributions of those who have been marginalised.

“H&F’s heritage trails provide a great opportunity to learn about a richer history of the borough, and I hope many people will take part.”

Visit our full programme of Black History events here.

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Black History trails launch event at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith

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