Schools mark Black History Month with a 101-year-old marathon runner, chef from The Ivy and drumming

Running a marathon, African drumming and a talk by a top chef are just some of the ways schools are celebrating Black History Month.

Many schools had a special week of activities to mark the month which remembers important people and events. It also looks at wider issues such as equality.

Wayne Smith, deputy headteacher at Cleveland Junior School, Cleveland Road, Ilford said they also incorporated Asian history as part of their learning.

He said: “This year we have been looking at things a bit closer to home, traditionally we have looked at people like Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement but we wanted people more accessible to our children.”

As part of this the school invited Fauja Singh, the 101-year-old marathon runner from Goodmayes, to join pupils in their own marathon.

The 497 children from the school, together with staff, each ran 85 meters in a relay on Friday and raised �200 for charity in the process.

Mr Smith said: “It was absolutory fantastic, it’s impressive to see this 101-year-old man running up and down the playground, he had an aura about him which inspired the children.”

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At Uphall Primary School, Uphall Road, Ilford they had African drumming and story telling.

Lawrence Hyatt, a teacher at the school, said; “It’s important for children to learn about black history, especially in a culturally diverse borough. There’s lots to learn from the past.”

Children got to try out drumming, learn songs and chants as well as listen to stories last week.

Mr Hyatt said: “It’s important for children to have an awareness of our past and learn from it and create a better future.”

A top chef from exclusive restaurant The Ivy will visit students at St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill on Thursday.

Gary Lee will speak about his life and journey to achieve his dream.

Delia Doyle, headteacher, said: “Our aim is to raise the aspirations of all our children and every term we focus on a different language and culture.”