On Monday and Tuesday this week, Years 6-10 took part in a host of activities related to the theme Culture and Community. This evolved from the work of the Emanuel Archer Group which itself has played a central role in the ongoing dialogue regarding race and diversity at our school. 

Our Archer Advisory Group made up of school staff and pupils of different ages and backgrounds advised on the theme which brings together aspects of our local and wider London area.

Pupils enjoyed a plethora of engaging activities, including Bollywood dancing, supporting the work of the Friends of Wandsworth Common, Japanese meditation, facilitating science experiments, learning how to play plastic trombones and remixing music, reorganising a partner primary school’s library, running a book fair for a partner school, creating a mini movie and participating in workshops about the geography of music and migration.

All of these activities were an opportunity for our pupils to have fun, get involved and discover more about Clapham’s diverse community.

Some of our Year 10s were roving reporters tasked with gathering news to write their own articles. Here is one group’s account of the Year 6 Indian Arts activity.

Year 6 enjoy Y6 Indian Arts activity day

During the last week of term, the school enjoyed an Arts and Science week. Whilst the rest of year 10 explored filmmaking and community work, we roamed around the school site and interviewed some of the year 6 pupils experiencing the Indian arts workshop. Lead by RuShee, their main aims are to educate and empower communities using traditional Indian customs, such as a Bollywood and Bhangra dancing workshops and Henna practice. The external speakers have been teaching for over 10 years and help to enlighten kids on eastern culture and customs.

We spoke to Year 6 pupil, Kit, about his experience with Bollywood. He states, “I learnt lots about the Indian culture and their style of dance, and how it helps show emotion in movies”.

Bhangra first appeared in the Punjab region of India in around 1875. It was, and still is, performed to celebrate the time of harvest. Year 6 were shown a demonstration by the RuShee team and were able to create their own sequence of moves to perform to the group.

As part of the activity week, the school enjoyed delicious Indian cuisine of lamb Biryani and beef Madras with Bombay Aloo (diced potatoes). The buttery was impressively decorated with Indian flags.

The art of Henna (Mehndi in Hindi) has been practiced in several countries for the past 9000 years and was originally used for its natural cooling properties for the people working in hot desert climates. As part of activity day, pupils really enjoyed the opportunity to experiment with Henna. Anna states “It’s not something you do every day and its different, so I loved picking up this new hobby”.

The table of pupils I talked to agreed that it is very important to learn and appreciate other cultures and practices from around the world.

We were impressed by the intellectual maturity of these pupils and how much they clearly enjoyed getting involved.

By Lily, Fynn and Isaac, Y10