Over half-term, our team reached out to students and had some conversations in which we gathered some common questions or concerns among Year 12. These questions were posed to co-president Rachael Oloyede-Oyeyemi, who kindly offered us her perspective:
Interviewer: A concern expressed by quite a few students is that we haven’t received the opportunities for sport and outdoor physical activity that we expected. What plans do you have to address this?
Rachael: The coronavirus has caused a lot of opportunities to be taken away, however when the government permits sports activities to take place I will ensure that we engage in them. This will include various sports opportunities within the timetable or after school as clubs. But I understand that there is still a huge experience we missed at the beginning of the year and therefore I hope to organise an LAET Sports Day Competition between the houses at the end of the year. This will allow a day concentrated on having fun, enjoying sports and even a highly requested ‘El Classico’ football match. I really hope to achieve all these goals if the students favour them; but ultimately the pandemic is unpredictable so it is important to keep that in mind.
Interviewer: Another concern of the students is that they haven’t had any of the educational trips they were hoping for, and it is uncertain whether they will get to. What solutions can you offer to this?
Rachael: Due to the pandemic we haven’t been able to go on educational trips and that cannot be helped. Although, if the pandemic permits it I will be talking with the teachers and our Highgate associates to see whether we can fit any trips in this academic year. This can include trips to subject based locations such as art galleries, science museums, the global theatre etc. Ultimately, if we are unable too then we would have to continue engaging with virtual tours and online seminars.
Interviewer: Many Year 12 students are frustrated that they did not have a prom after Year 11. Is there any hope of LAE organising one for us?
Rachael: I can definitely understand this frustration from us missing our prom. It was one of the most anticipated Year 11 experiences taken away from us. In light of this I really want us to have a prom, not only to replace the one we missed but to celebrate how far we have come and what we have completed. In my opinion, I think it is wise to have it at the end of Year 13 so we can fully fundraise and have a lovely finish to our time at LAET. This is definitely something I will push for.
Interviewer: Would you agree with the idea that COVID-19 has created a gap between the year groups and negatively affected student-teacher relationships? What can be done to improve this? Is there any way to strengthen the community?
Rachael: I would say that COVID-19 has created a gap between the year groups more so than the student-teacher relationships. This is inevitable but I believe that we can come together before the year ends. If the pandemic permits the policies at school to change in terms of year groups mixing, then I would propose joint lunch, clubs, assemblies and more. My plan to have a Sports Day is also a part of this, I think we can really bring the year groups together in one final event before the Year 13s leave.
Interviewer: Are there any other concerns students have shared with you? What issues do you think need to be dealt with?
Rachael: Some students have spoken to me about the different cultures within LAET and how to fully embrace them all. I think it is important to learn about different heritages in our school as that is what makes our community so diverse and vibrant. I definitely feel like we can utilise pastoral sessions to allow the students to express themselves and have more of a chance to share their cultures with others.