Highgate Wood School

Having just returned from visiting Highgate Wood School – I am happy. And I am happy because the young people I met are great – and whilst there are loads of issues around knife crime and behaviour and so on and so on – the truth is that most of these young people are raring to go. It’s us who have to make their road ahead interesting, safe, full of opportunity and happy!

I addressed the Year 7 Assembly (around 200) and then did an hour Q & A with the Year 11 Sociology Class. There was a coterie of about five of them who are really, really interested in politics and having a voice – and I always enjoy talking over the issues. We were discussing the issue of having nowhere to go – and £58 million for new youth clubs across London coming on stream.

I was saying that what facilities are provided is key – as just a table tennis table won’t do it. It seems pretty clear to me that what is needed is a place to gather and socialise – that’s the main function. I know a couple of years ago a commercial company, for example, started a ‘pub’ – but a non-alcoholic ‘pub’ so young people could hang out, have coffee, juice etc. I haven’t heard how it fared – but it was that imaginative thinking that we need to try – along with sports facilities and all the usual.

I had tea with members of the school council – all bright and enthusiastic about civics and engagement. And then I toured many classrooms to see students in action. The School Council members showed me round – led by Adam Jogee – who is standing for Haringey’s Youth Parliament Rep. He had stickers for everyone and posters up around the whole school – clearly working as everyone we passed said ‘Hi Jogee’!

Highgate Wood is going through a real up period. There is an atmosphere of genuine enthusiasm amongst both pupils and staff.

0 thoughts on “Highgate Wood School

  1. Interesting article. I am glad that young people all over Haringey want to use all their energy and passion to change our community and the wider world for the better. Something many of us have been unable to achieve. It is certainly encouraging to see, from my own standpoint, of course, there are young people whom are very active at their age, perhaps we need more young people at school engaging so healthily in the process of democracy in Haringey. That is certainly a worthwhile cause. I, as many of Haringey’s politicians, want to see young people engaging in every aspect of civic and community life, as they are after all, our future! The Haringey Youth Council, which I have always argued, is a political front for the Labour Group. If I was wrong, watch the recent meeting- http://www.haringey.ukcouncil.net/site/You will hear what they have to say about the Conservative party. They use their platform to make remarks about political parties, rather than concentrating on affairs in Haringey. Adam Jogee is standing. Well good luck to him. However, make sure you don’t make any sweeping generalisations about any political party, as you are representing young people affiliated to all parties. I hear you are a Lib Dem in Haringey, but why would you front a Labour youth council initiative, setup to represent their interest. You should fight for inclusivity within your youth council 🙂 Thanks 🙂

  2. Mash- thanks for your support, its very much appreciated. I will be sure not to make any sweeping generalisations about any political party- do not worry! With regard to the Youth Council, its a body of young people who work WITH the Council, not for the Council. What ever your opinions about it, im sure you will agree, its great to see young people serving their community in this fantastically positive way.As for my own political persuasion, I shall take your advice and keep my opinions to myself!

  3. Hello there Adam,I am pleased with your decision to stand, especially if it enhances young people’s participation in democracy. Furthermore, I hope that the Council listens carefully to the Youth Council, and develops policies which will be both relevant to young people and which take account of the problems they face.Of course, I agree with you, that you work with the Council. However, where is the hidden agenda in all of this? The hidden agenda is crystal clear. The Haringey Labour Group formulated Haringey Youth Council, serves its own political purpose. They need to meet Labour Government targets for involving young people, tick boxes and stuff!!!!! Strangely enough, no residents were consulted on this “Youth Council” setup by Labour, nor were any other political party. Perhaps you could question the Youth Council’s organisers about this matter.

  4. At least get the name right. Highgate Wood School, because it is near Highgate Wood, no “S”.You made the mistake twice, in the heading and in the main body. Getting the name right is absolutely essential for a politician, as I am sure you are aware, Lyn.If there are issues around knife crime as you mention, then surely you should be very concerned that these happy kids are at risk- should you not be devoting more time to tackling these issues you mention the school “has loads” of. I find it worrying that a school can have any issue with knife crime, but you mention that this school has” loads of issues” so why are you happy, Lyn?As a parent, I am frightened for my children being in a place where there are issues with knife crime. Are you doing anything about it?Or do you mean that the children have worries about khife crime and it is not an issue in the school itself? You are not being clear,Lyn. Politicians must be clear, surely? Is there a problem with knife crime or not and what are you doing about it?

  5. Freda – thank you for the correction. You are right – politicians should always pay attention to this sort of detail. And you are also right that parents worry about this issue.As to what I do – as much as I can. I’ve raised it in Parliament and asked Jack Straw for a debate. I help the police and have been with them into for example Woodside High during anti-crime week because I believe education is one vital tool. I put an amendment to the Violent Crime Reduction Bill for sentences for carrying a knife to be lengthened to the same maximum as carrying a gun. Labour did not support this.And only this week I led for the Liberal Democrats on a debate in Westminster Hall on teenage knife crime. However, whatever I do – and I do try – in the end the Government needs to fund a proper youth service, and keep a focus on helping young people as the vast majority are good but are afraid.Also – the reason young people give me for carrying a knife is for protection – so we have to take the knives off the streets.Overally, our strategy is the three Ps – Prevent, Protect, Punish.Thanks for your post.