School's charity work bids to make pupils 'more socially aware'

Park School for Girls headteacher Catherine Redfern

Park School for Girls headteacher Catherine Redfern - Credit: Park School for Girls

The headteacher of an Ilford school described how its charity work aims to make pupils "more socially and morally aware".

Each year at Park School for Girls, which was established in 1974 and has only 140 pupils, the school’s senior prefect team pick a charity to raise money for.

Pupils are responsible for the coordination and running of charity fundraising events and the school has recently raised money for Saint Francis Hospice as well as this year’s chosen charity, the Humanimal Trust.

The latter raises money for medical research for humans and animals.

Under headteacher Catherine Redfern, who joined last September, the school introduced the Park Service Award which recognises pupils’ voluntary or charity work inside or outside of school.

Speaking about the school’s charity work, Ms Redfern said: “Schools aren’t just about pupils getting the best grades.

"Our aim is also to produce pupils who are more socially and morally aware and it’s crucial that pupils learn the skills about being the very best they can be."

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One Park School pupil, Simran-Katy Kaur Rao, raised £544 for charity Marie Curie, whose nurses cared for her grandmother Narinder Kaur in 2012.

Her granddaughter decided to start selling daffodils at the school as part of Marie Curie's Great Daffodil Appeal.

The pupil also set up a tuck shop and sold raffle tickets at break and lunchtimes to raise money for the charity, supported by staff and parents who donated the prizes.

Simran-Katy has now been nominated for the Ilford Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Young Citizen Awards.

“We're very proud of her for having the passion and the initiative to raise all that money”, Ms Redfern said.

One of the main events in the school calendar is the annual Cultural Day.

It is a fundraising event organised by the pupils, who come into school dressed in their own cultural dress or colours from their national flag.

Home-cooked food donated by parents, pupils and staff is sold throughout the day.

This year’s event, which took place last month, raised £642 for the Humanimal Trust.

Ms Redfern, who described the institution she leads as "a small school with a big heart”, believes it is important for children to learn skills that they cannot learn out of the textbook.

“My education philosophy is that if children are happy they’ll achieve their full potential.

"Pupils leave us with confidence and aspirations as they move onto their next journey of education and beyond.”