Lawn Manor Academy pupils celebrate contribution of refugees

By Barrie Hudson - 25 June 2021

EducationSecondary

Staff and pupils at Lawn Manor Academy embraced Refugee Week to the full.

  • Year 8 pupils Ryhanna, left, and Charlie, said they learned a great deal during the week

    Year 8 pupils Ryhanna, left, and Charlie, said they learned a great deal during the week

They marked the national event last week by adopting the theme 'We Cannot Walk Alone' through lessons in science, the arts and physical education.

Refugee Week is the UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and those seeking sanctuary. 

Through a programme of arts, cultural and sporting events, Refugee Week helps people from different backgrounds to connect, and encourages people to understand why some people are displaced and their need to be able to live safely within inclusive communities. 

William Smith, head of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) at Lawn Manor Academy, said the school considered the challenges facing refugees through the entire curriculum during the week.

“We had Year 8 music pupils playing one of Bob Marley’s compositions, acknowledging that Bob Marley was a refugee himself, and pupils walked a mile in PE, recognising the journeys that refugees have to make,” said Mr Smith.

“In dance classes, Years 7 and 8 did work orientated around the struggles and hardships refugees face, and in Spanish pupils looked at the different languages refugees may encounter on their journeys. 

"This is a really important topic and it was wonderful to see so many pupils engaged in learning about journeys that refugees have to make."

Maths and science classes focused on the statistics around refugees, in art and the humanities pupils created poems and drawings representing a refugee’s journey. History lessons looked at the links to the slave trade, and in drama pupils acted out a journey of a refugee.

Alex Gasche, a history teacher at Lawn Manor Academy, which is part of the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trust, said: “I’ve really valued the ILEARN discussions we have had this week for refugee week, understanding the realities and struggles of life as a refugee. 

"Through the United Nations website, guided discussions, a resource pack and poems by refugees, we have been able to consider some of the misconceptions of refugees and appreciate the desperate and hopeless situation that refugees find themselves in.

“This week was an important reminder to us that compassion and patience should be shown to people seeking refuge."  

Year 8 pupil Ryhanna said: “Refugee week has taught me how important refugees are and the struggle they go through to get away from danger and find safe shelter. I've also learnt the journeys and risks refugees have to take to experience average living.

"The topic allows you to be introspective and think deeply about the risks people take to get to safety, never knowing if they'll fit in the country they finally get to.”

Charlie, another Year 8 pupil, said: “It is easy to take everything we have in the UK for granted, and this week has shown me that we are very lucky to be living in a safe country. 

"I still can’t imagine how it would be like to have to travel across all of Europe, risking your life on the way, or to live in a refugee camp miles from home, if you do eventually get to the UK.

“Through writing poems, learning about these countries, about the war and persecution they face, I have learnt that refugees are more than a statistic in population numbers, they are real people with their own stories to tell, and they do not choose to leave their home, they’re forced to.”

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