Anne-Marie Duguid, SSAT Director of Education, writes…
I came to our offices and saw the black smoke from the Grenfell Tower. I had seen it on the news that morning and was distraught – seeing this in reality shouldn’t have made a difference but it did. It became more real. Nowhere near as real as it was for those residents, local community, volunteers and emergency services.
We have seen mixed responses from our politicians and that debate will continue. I want to focus on those students – the young people so often criticised in the press. They will have been through hell, they will not have known if some of their family and friends have made it – but they went to school – some in their night clothes and some sitting exams – 65 sitting their AS. They pulled together as a community to support each other and we have seen them eloquently respond to politicians and news reporter about what should have been done and what should be done now.
The importance of education as a whole is paramount. It means something to our youth – they know it can unlock their futures – schools can provide safety and compassion as well as outstanding teaching. A school is not an exam factory but a place that nurtures, develops and grows students.
What we see here is both devastating and remarkable – schools responding to raise money, to look after students not from their schools, to try to support and to ensure those young people are as safe as they can be.
This is not about Ofsted. This is not about exam boards. This is not about Progress 8. This is about children, young people, teachers, schools as a community as a whole – the moral purpose that drives us all.
Our condolences to all who have suffered at Grenfell tower, our respect to the resilience, determination and strength of our young people. It has moved us all.