"Were here for Good!" say Queen Katherine Academy's Roma students
A group of Queen Katherine Academy ’s (QKA) Roma students had the opportunity to help produce a short documentary for the East of England Local Government Association about Britain’s Roma community. Many of the young people also shared their own stories in front of the camera as part of a series of workshops led by Romany journalist and filmmaker, Jake Bowers.
As part of the documentary, a QKA student tells viewers "We Roma young people will be giving you the inside story of Britain's Roma community and will introduce you to some of the people who are helping our communities integrate into modern British life."
The documentary was part of The Parallel Lives Roma Project which was launched in October 2017 with the aim of helping frontline workers and their managers to develop an improved understanding of Roma communities, their needs and more effective engagement strategies. To find out more about the project visit: https://smp.eelga.gov.uk/migrant-workers/parallel-lives-roma-project/the-parallel-lives-roma-project-overview/
QKA Roma students are thriving and the academy run a Student Leadership scheme to develop leadership skills and self-esteem among their Roma students, as well as to promote Roma culture throughout all areas of school life.
In September 2019, the Academy also hosted a Roma Exhibition held at the Vivacity unit in Queensgate, Peterborough. The exhibition included displays of artwork, examples of traditional Roma dancing and information on the history of the Roma people. Visitors, including the Mayor of Peterborough, were guided around the exhibition by Queen Katherines's Roma Leaders and were given a unique opportunity to learn more about the Roma community from students and staff.
Helena Ground, International Projects Co-ordinator and Teacher at Queen Katherine Academy said, "About 20% of our cohort are from the Roma community. We have done quite a lot to reflect our school community and celebrate Roma culture and have noticed its helped raise Roma pupils aspirations and instil a sense of pride and self belief. We've really noticed that this has increased engagement in pupils learning and their happier in school. But it's also helped other students to understand what it means to be part of the Roma community, to be more tolerant towards our Roma students and create an environment that is more accepting."