Top award for school

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St Mary’s Church of England Primary School in Boston Spa is celebrating after being awarded The Stephen Lawrence Education Standard in recognition of its work on community cohesion.

Children from the school were invited to a special ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall last Friday where they were presented with the award.

Headteacher Jan Alexander said the school had worked hard to embed a strong positive multi-cultural message both in the classroom and also in the wider community.

Mrs Alexander said: “As part of our work towards the award, the children helped to write and put on a concert at Boston Spa village hall where they explained the story of Stephen Lawrence and celebrated our diverse culture.

“Focussing on community cohesion has had a really positive impact on our school.”

The Standard is a progressive award, and St Mary’s has achieved the first level.

However, Mrs Alexander said that the school was well on the way to meeting level 2 which it hopes to achieve in the near future.

“It can be very difficult for children to understand about our wider community when living in a rural area, and schemes such as this really help us to focus on diversity.

“The story about what happened to Stephen Lawrence had a real impact on them, and they brought in a lot of their own ideas about how to improve understanding about diversity in our community and gain a better sense of community cohesion,” she said.

“The award is recognition of the work they have done and they should be proud of their achievement.”

The award which is unique to Leeds, however, is expected to be rolled-out nationally very soon.

It was developed in partnership between Education Leeds, Leeds City Council and Black and Minority community representatives, in response to the tragic murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 and the publication of the Macpherson Inquiry Report into Stephen’s death in 1999.

The Stephen Lawrence Education Standard was launched in 2003, and was the first of its kind in the country to promote community cohesion.