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School inspires children with 'It Takes a Village' workshops

AMAZED: The children at Daubeney Primary School heard from a number of high achieving public figures including former boxer Michael Watson

A PRIMARY school in Hackney has inspired young minds with a series of talks from high profile figures including journalist and author Gary Younge, former boxer Michael Watson and storyteller Phill Mcdermott.

Daubeney Primary School's “It takes a village” project forms part of the London borough of Hackney’s initiative to improve outcomes for young black men by reducing exclusions from school and increasing their academic attainment.

The series of workshops and talks had three primary aims – to improve the transition from primary to secondary school and parents engagement in all aspect of their children lives by encouraging them to network and engage with local organisations and communities; foster a better understanding of the factors contributing to the underachievement of black men and explore solutions to overcome that.

Daubeney's head of school, Gregory Logan told The Voice: “The project has had lots of positive feedback from attendees and speakers alike. Many attendees, especially adults, felt inspired by the presentations and the overall project. In particular by the fact that our presenters demonstrated how to overcome obstacles and therefore providing the confidence or model to our students to feel that they too can overcome the obstacles in their lives. The project is one that many people have asked if we’ll run again next year. I say, watch this space.”

SUCCESS: Daubeney's head of school Gregory Logan, back row - centre, led the team that organised the It Takes a Village project

The weekly chat show style talks and interactive sessions that explored topics such as racial identity theory, cultural competition and unconscious bias.

The seven-week series kicked off with an event entitled Do we need fathers? Author and Guardian journalist Gary Younge, spoke about how whilst fathers are beneficial, you can still be successful in a single parenthood household. The fatherhood theme continued in week two with a Father’s Day special that saw storyteller Phill Mcdermott adopt African teaching methods of storytelling and encourage children to celebrate their fathers and learn what they can from them.

One father said: “What a challenging and inspiring programme you guys are putting up. I count myself lucky to be a partaker. Kudos to Honourable Logan and the amazing team.”

Keynote speaker, psychologist Dr Annie McHugh, taught parents about the psychological impact of being exposed to domestic abuse throughout a childhood in week three’s workshop, The Parents’ Room. Then the focus shifted to the future as educator Andrew Mohammed and barrister Lorrie Anne told their personal stories of continued resilience and dedication to inspire achievement. While lead trauma surgeon Dr Martin Griffith, known to many as the “Hero Doctor”, for his work to save stabbing and shooting victims engaged with the young children to help break the cycle of violence.

Ex-boxer Michael Watson gave the students and parents an opportunity to question how to define success. They ultimately came to the conclusion that while success is relative, it can be broadly understood as perseverance through adversity.

Tomorrow Daubeney Primary School will welcome rapper and writer Akala, “mumpreneur” Shirina Carstens and many more, to share their success stories and motivate the children as the inspirational project draws to a close.

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