Stretford High School Palestine Collection Update

Dear Parents, Carers and Pupils,

I am writing to provide you with an update on funds collected by our pupils in aid of Palestine.

With regard to recent events around our pupils’ engagement in fundraising for Palestinian beneficiaries, I would like to put on record that I unreservedly apologise for a decision I made to consider sending the proceeds of the funds raised to the Red Cross. I made this judgment call as at the time I believed there would be no bias in doing so.

Subsequently, I understand that this decision has caused offence to some members of the wider community. This was never my intention and in no way did I wish to cause upset or offence to our pupils, their respective families and of course our community. I understand the issue of Palestine is a sensitive matter and in retrospect we should have further engaged the pupils involved in fundraising to determine a more suitable charity to manage the funds. Stretford High School is still in receipt of the monies collected and we will now engage with our students to determine which charity would be most appropriate in managing and distributing the funds for the purpose it was raised.

To provide transparency, there were two groups of pupils who raised the money.

Group 1: Year 11 Pupils made and sold white ribbon badges and raised £166.82.

Group 2: Year 8 pupils made and sold loom bracelets and sold white ribbons and raised £111.60.

£278.42 was raised in total from this initiative.

I have now spoken with representatives from both groups and have formulated the following plan.

  • Year 11 Prefect Team, led by our Head Prefects, will share information about relevant charities and will agree a suitable charity to donate to. Year 11 pupils will be given the opportunity to ask the Prefect Team to return any money they have contributed if they wish to do
  • Pupils in Years 7 – 10 will have lessons commencing Monday 14th June in EE (Everything Else) which will cover several charities and the work they do. We will then conduct a survey of pupils to ascertain which charity will help those affected and that the pupil body as a whole would like to contribute

Furthermore, I have shared an apology and the plan moving forward for Years 7 -10 with all pupils.

As a school, we have delivered lessons during EE on Palestine & Israel, so that students may be informed regarding the history and present-day events of what occurs within the region. Our aim is to present a balanced view so that our pupils have a safe environment to discuss and ask questions as it is vital in having an open dialogue on this sensitive issue. It is just as important that Stretford High School continues to deliver the work we have planned to carry out this term, to shine a light on human sufferings wherever this may occur.

Over the last few days, I have had an unusually high number of correspondences by email which I am working through and will endeavour to respond to you all in the coming days.

Should you wish to contact me, could I request you send me an email to ndoward@stretfordhigh.com

I would like to comment on social media postings over the last few days regarding this issue particularly where individuals have posted comments on their indignation. I have listened and have understood. I would also like to reinforce that some of our core values at Stretford High School include family and respect at its heart. We are a school community that support one another and uphold each

other’s values even when emotions run raw as we have seen here. It is however crucial we all uphold and maintain the value of respect, especially towards one another. I am extremely proud of our pupils who with such passion and kindness wanted to raise money for a cause close to their hearts and I am hopeful moving forward these recent events do not deter our pupils from carrying out noble gestures but strengthens their resolve.

I would like to thank our pupils for conducting themselves with dignity and respect at this difficult time and the genuine, compassionate support they have demonstrated. I would also like to thank the parents, friends of the school, Leaders of our local Mosques, our Governors and the wider community who offered support and counsel. Thank you to those who sought clarification when others offered criticism. Thank you to those who trusted that our intention, my intention, was always to do good.

Finally, I have been criticised for sharing how my mother, even now, and the wisdom she lived every day guides me. I will not apologise for that. My mother, a woman of great faith, often said that God works in mysterious ways and crooked lines and that as sure as day follows night, good can come from bad…but you have to work to make it so.

Our objective was to raise awareness of a humanitarian crisis, to raise money to provide support and to unite together to make a positive difference. That objective hit a bump but it is back on track now. United we stand.

 

Yours sincerely,

Nicola Doward Headteacher.