Show your pupils the real London.
I recall so vividly my visits to London when I was in school. We visited in Year 6, and explored the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace and Big Ben and all the landmarks, and it was a fun and memorable visit.
An opportunity is missed though, when we follow only the tourist trail. This is particularly so now, as our country is so divided.
The East End of London is a fascinating place, with a rich history and so many diverse stories. The tales of rich and poor, of the expansion of our capital city, of urbanisation and of migration can all be told through the streets of Liverpool Street, Bethnal Green, Spitalfields and Whitechapel.
I write as a teacher based in a neighbouring borough, and even for our pupils, it was fascinatingly rich to learn about the way in which Spitalfields has provided safety and refuge for those arriving in the country, from the Huguenot weavers, to the Jewish migrants, to the Bangladeshi community.
The story of East London may not feel like the story of all of London, and it may not feel like the story of England. But it is.
My pupils in East London don't know enough about the Other England - the England of proud mining towns and villages, of vibrant diverse cities, of beach towns and rural villages. Likewise, for many schools across different parts of the nation, children's knowledge of London extends little beyond the tourist hotspots.
We would love to work with schools from outside London to support them to visit East London and to spend a day exploring the history, learning about diverse local histories, religious buildings and the linguistic richness of the real East End.
We can plan it all out for you, and act as tour guides. What goes into it can be tweaked to what your pupils would most benefit from. It could be primarily about history and geography, or it could be primarily about developing and widening children's understanding of religious and cultural diversities.
We could help you to visit places like:
- Liverpool Street - Stories of migration and the Kindertransport
- The City of London - The home of England's banking industry
- Brick Lane - A street with the richest of histories - tales of refugees and migration, innovation, Bangladeshi community, thriving markets and Islam
- Christchurch Spitalfields and East London Mosque - Visits to different places of worship
- Spitalfields City Farm - An amazing urban farm
We would love to help your school to create a true learning experience during a visit to London. It has never been more important for our children to learn and understand the experiences that bring us all together, across the different communities that make up our nation.