This week saw the Engage Influence and Inspire team in Greenwich, a place more commonly known as the Royal Borough. However, with a rise of 22% in violent crime last year alone (2015, London Assembly), the borough set the perfect backdrop for our first session with the students – Crime and Consequences. The group, full of aspiring musicians, footballers and businessmen were engaged from the start and were hit with the harsh reality of the criminal justice system and the devastating effects becoming wrapped up in it can have. The team helped one young man, frustrated at being labelled a criminal by his teachers, shift his focus: he was academically bright, full of potential but sometimes his behaviour let him down.
Meanwhile the team were back in Vauxhall, following up our first group of the term with individualised one-to-ones. Peeling back the layers and hearing first-hand the challenges that these children have gone through, it is no wonder how their behaviour often overshadows their academic ability. The rapport the team have built with each student is incredible, and testament to the fact that young people just want to talk to someone who listens and cares. We will use this information to build our reports, sharing strengths and recommendations with the pastoral staff and wider team to help these students succeed.
Concluding the week back in Greenwich with a session looking at the Impact of Media and Music, the energy in the room was palpable. Such is their extent of knowledge, had this been a test on spelling or arithmetic the students would have passed with flying colours. The group were challenged to understand the reality of the lyrics they listen to, and reflect on the impact it has on their attitudes and behaviour. Leading into the weekend, the boys may have been heading back to the same environment, but their mind-sets are clearly beginning to shift.