Pupils at French school in Wembley pay tribute to victims of Paris terrorism attack
- Credit: Archant
Older pupils at an independent French school in Wembley took part in a special assembly today to pay tribute to the victims of the terrorism attack in Paris.
The young people at the Lycee International De Londres Winston Churchill in Forty Lane, were also encouraged to express their emotions about the tragedy through writing and drawing on a white poster played in the school’s foyer.
A psychologist who works at the school, which opened in September in the former Brent Town Hall, was on hand to help pupils to cope with the aftermath of the atrocity which claimed the lives of 129 people.
Mireille Rabate, the school principal, told the Times the day was very emotional.
She said: “We do have a few families who were affected by what happened. Everybody was very emotional.
“My team and I planned how we would deal with the children today so I sent messages to the families over the weekend.
“I wanted them to know that we’d talk about it today at school and students would have the chance to express emotions, to share ideas and to be together.”
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Primary pupils from years one to four were ushered into their classroom and talked about inclusion, with the school psychologist on hand to guide them.
The special assembly was held for pupils from year five to 11.
“Fifty per cent of our families came directly from France so it’s very personal,” Ms Rabate said.
“The students were given the opportunity to speak first, not to be told what to think and what to feel.
“I wanted the children to express themselves and they did. We had a big miccrophone in the room and students got up to share what they were thinking about. They were almost unstoppable. It was very moving.”
She read a pre-prepared speech after which they all held hands for a minute’s silence and then listened to the Unicef version of John Lennon’s Imagine.
She added: “As awful as these things are, we are building the next generation. The only way to change that people feel disenfranchised is to make sure that we include them and educate them. There was a message today to be inclusive, from young children to older ones.
To make sure we share hope, we value each other’s talent and that we recognise each other.
“If our school cannot do that for our own children maybe they will look somewhere else or to some other group to feel included and part of something.
“I asked the students to reflect on three of our values – community, diversity and respect - that was our message today.”
She said: “I would like to add that everyone in the school, students, adults, have been very appreciative of the Wembley Stadium being illuminated with the red, white and blue colours of the French flag and the words egalite, fraternite, egalite.
“We’ve been looking out of windows to see that and we very much appreciate that.”