Last week saw the opening two events in a very exciting month of June for St. James’. Not only did we launch the national ‘Ocean Guardian Assembly’ on Friday, with over 12,000 children signed up, more than 500 teachers and nearly 110 schools, but on Wednesday Mr Payne was invited into a reception on the Terrace Pavilion in the Houses of Parliament for those people lucky enough to have been shortlisted for a national TES award.
The TES (Times Educational Supplement) awards are pretty much the Oscars of the UK educational world and to have been shortlisted is quite a big deal for a few reasons. Firstly, it is recognition of the work of our academy and the importance of the initiative that we have started, trying to help children across the world learn about plastic, pollution, recycling and the environment. Secondly, it is an opportunity for us to spread the word and have even more schools hear about us, join us and build more links – and finally it is a chance for us to meet people who have influence in the world of education who could amplify our message and also become involved in a way that would benefit all of the children at St. James’.
Mr Payne introduced Friday’s Ocean Guardian assembly with an explanation of some of the things he had seen and heard while he was in Parliament – the fact that King Henry VIII had played tennis in Westminster Hall, that Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother (among a select few others) had been ‘laid in state’ in that same room for people to come and pay their respects, that there is only one piece of modern art in Parliament and it is a constantly adjusting light pattern that is linked to the tidal movement of the Thames, that the statue of Lord Falkland now consists of a fake and removable sword because so many protestors chain themselves to it and much more…
And finally, at the reception itself, Mr Payne had been able to speak with Lucy Powell MP (shadow education secretary), Barry Gardiner MP (shadow international trade secretary) and Mary Creagh MP (chair of the environmental select committee). All were very impressed with what St. James’ has achieved and wanted to pass on their best wishes and congratulations to the whole community.
We now wait to find out what happens in the awards ceremonies – June 21st for the TES awards and June 27th for the National Recycling Awards. We’ll keep you updated!!