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Stratford Girls' Grammar School Stratford-Upon-Avon
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Aby El-Bekai, Teacher of English

In our latest isolation blog, SGGS Teacher of English, Abigail El-Bekai, explains how prevalent social topics, such as Black Lives Matter, have been explored by students during the annual SGGS reading week

In addition to the impact of the coronavirus, it is clear that racism has caught the attention of the world recently. It is important that young people, who are seeing an emotive subject discussed on the news and on social media, are empowered to understand, learn and formulate their own opinions and thoughts. For this reason, we made the decision to explore both COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter during the annual SGGS Reading Week.

Essentially, we were keen to give students a safe space to explore and 'create' a response to these  issues if they wanted to. We devised a moderated channel in the school Teams function where resources could be posted by teachers such as books and materials promoting different ways of expressing feelings; through mediums such as art, dance, drama, literature, history and DT.

Students were tasked with expanding their understanding in a measured and self-reflective way. By reading, creating and sharing (internally) they were able to discuss different perspectives, consider individual experiences and use this insight to produce informative and personal content. The response we received was phenomenal. In total we received nearly 500 unique contributions from students including poems, drawings, posters, paintings and stories.

As a school we remain apolitical, but as society evolves, it is important that our students examine the different stances of a topic, form their own view and have the platform to share their voice. Subjects such as Black Lives Matter are ones that we will revisit and continue to explore through different lenses as time progresses.

It has been a privilege and pleasure to see SGGS students create such thoughtful, brilliant and inspiring work.

Published on 10th July 20