Firstly, I wanted to say thank you to our new Year 7 students and parents who came to school just recently to chat with my senior team and I about how they are settling in to life at Beckfoot Upper Heaton. We had an overwhelming response from our families and students who came to school for this first event of its kind here at school. The feedback from the evening was incredible. It reminded me (as if I needed it) the difference we are making to the lives of young people at this school and in this part of our wonderful city. Thanks to everyone who contributed to making this event special.
Secondly, over half term, 9 of our students, accompanied by Mr. Hogan, had the incredible opportunity to visit Bosnia as part of their work on the ‘Remembering Srebrenica’ campaign. They have been committed to this work over the past two years and have delivered key learning and messages to students at our school, in local primary settings and indeed to a wider cohort across Bradford.
The trip to Bosnia & Herzegovina was a sombre occasion. Our students, all from Year 11, set out at 11am on Saturday 21st October from Bradford City Centre and journeyed to Luton Airport. Twelve hours later, via plane and two gruelling coach journeys, they arrived in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.
Their first experience of Bosnia was one of beauty; Sarajevo has a rich Cultural & Religious heritage, expressed in its array of varied yet majestic buildings and their amazing architecture. Walking down one street they could picture themselves in the heart of the Ottoman empire with its rows of busy market stalls; a tradition dating back some five hundred years. In the next they could have been in the Austro-Hungarian period with its glorious Churches and walkways.
The Monday was no less captivating but for reasons that our students found painful to speak about as the Bosnian War was as devastating as any other. It was a war fuelled by Nationalism stirred up by Political leaders split the country apart, the outcome irreversible and tragic. They visited the city of Srebrenica, a two-hour drive from the country’s capital it was a scene of mass oblique grave stones with a crescent shaped plaque bearing the names of all those who perished inside one week in an area termed a ‘safe zone’.
Our students left with a message from the Mothers of Srebrenica. When asked about the groups of students who visit their city and whether they had spoken to groups of Bosnian-Serbs who they were at war with, one replied, “I never ask the names of anybody who comes here, because all children are God’s gift… It doesn’t matter who they are.”
Thank you to all our incredible students and especially to Mr. Hogan and Mrs. Duthie for making this possible.
Have a great weekend.