I know you are all aware of the current situation in the Middle East – and that you will be aware of some of the challenges for young people locally in terms of forming their response to it.
I am writing to say how proud I am of KPHS students, who have in the vast majority of cases been extraordinarily mature. They are naturally engaged and in some cases emotional about the conflict and its impact, but they have been wise in their view that protests on this are better outside school, rather than in. A number of them have this week taken part in seminar-style discussions with me about the current situation, its causes and impact – and in some cases about the many, many years of historical conflict affecting the region. They have done so with intelligence, humanity and kindness.
I want to share with you that there are students here who have not only understood their responsibility to help us all manage our community here in Rochdale with openness, dialogue and understanding, but who have also asked me to expand our curriculum plans to allow for the more sustainable education of our students on the history and complexity of Palestine, Israel and Jerusalem itself. I will begin this process with them today by emailing all students and thanking them for their maturity at this time, and then by preparing some virtual assembly material for all students for next week. After half term we will plan for a longer and more detailed strand of education too.
My final thanks in this letter goes to all of you, who have trusted us to manage our young people, your children, with care and respect through this period so far and I hope we have done that for you – we will continue to do so going forward, in all cases. To those of you who have supported us by reinforcing our message of peace and compassion – and education first! – at home, I thank you for that too. When you see your children tonight, please let them know how proud I am of them all, individually and collectively.