Black History Month

October is the month where Black History is celebrated in the UK. At City Academy Birmingham we kick started the celebrations with a whole week of assemblies which was led by several of our talented Yr11 students. They highlighted the importance of celebrating the achievements of historical figures such as Septimus Severus, Olaudah Equino and Mary Seacole to name a few. 

This year we wanted to focus particularly around Black History in Britain, looking very closely at the ‘Windrush generation’ in particular as is has been a huge focus within the media prior to this. Around 40 KS3 students attended a stories from the Caribbean afternoon where they sat down and listened to the amazing individual experiences of Mrs Peters who emigrated from St Vincent to experience the ‘opportunities’ that England had to offer her family and Mrs Sylvester who came across from Grenada to be with her parents who came to England to create a better future for her family.   

This experience provided our students with a greater understanding of what happened from 1948-1971. They were able to ask questions and listen to the stories with excitement, laugh and almost shed a tear when they heard of some of the struggles that these two women and their families faced in the early stages of arriving to this country.   

As a result of this students were then able to apply their knowledge and understanding of this within their drama work. Yr7 created tableaux to express the journey that had been made by those from the Caribbean who came to the UK. They had also watched news clips and read testimonies to aid them with their development.   

Following on from this Yr8 were able to write a monologue or a duologue of either a person/people from another country not just the Caribbean sharing their first thoughts of entering the country or as a British Citizen and how they responded to those arriving.   

Yr9 worked on devised drama pieces and compositions to explore what Black History meant to them and how they could use their talents to express this through the arts. One group in particular explored the life of modern-day society and how a young black boy is faced with how he is perceived by others and who he is.  

Yr11 GCSE Art students are working on identity where they have created a range of stunning imagery. The work is absolutely stunning and those portraits say a thousand words. A selection of students who attend Art club drew and painted portraits of Wiley, Anthony Joshua, Zadie Smith and Olaudah Equino for our competition posters. 

The English department worked around creative writing pieces. A special mention goes to the work of Rashaun in Yr11 who bravely said his piece in front of a small audience. Not only was it creative but it was intelligently written. Well done! Rebecca Yr9 and Jasmine Yr10 also wrote brilliant pieces.    

The French Department focused on a Poem ‘When I was born’. Students were able to recite the poem in French and translate it into English, the choir also made a song out of the poem to emphasise its strong statement.  

A taste of the Caribbean was presented by our Food and nutrition students as they prepared and cooked traditional dishes such as fried chicken, rice and ackee and saltfish, which smelt and looked delicious.  

Staff in the canteen prepared and served a delicious Caribbean themed meal which consisted of jerk chicken, curried mutton, rice and peas, coleslaw, pineapple sponge cake and homemade fruit punch. This menu got a high five from both staff and students. Thank you to the catering team!   

To conclude, we were fortunate enough to have an African clothes designer in to share her passion for fashion and support Black History by allowing 6 of our students to model her clothing line. She met with the 6 students and told them about herself and how a percentage of her proceeds goes towards helping mothers and their children in Ghana. Marcia also travels to Ghana throughout the year to help support the mothers in Ghana. Her clothing was used in a fashion show presentation during our sharing of our Black History performance showcase.  

The showcase was not only a celebration of Black History it was also an opportunity to share the work that students have been doing both inside and outside of lessons. It was a show that was led by the students for each other which made this experience personal for them. It was lovely to see how diverse we are as a school and how respectful we are of one another, irrespective of our ethnicity or our beliefs. Our students are proud of their school and of who they are

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