Pupils spread message of peace on Green Street, Upton Park

Class 5a

Class 5a - Credit: Archant

Youngsters inspired by grieving mothers of knife crime took to the streets to spread their message of peace last week.

Class 5a

Class 5a - Credit: Archant

Pupils from Elmhurst Primary School, on Upton Park Road, Forest Gate, made posters bearing slogans such as “Help us to heal the world”, sang songs, and read out poems to passing shoppers on Green Street on Monday July 1.

The school children came up with the campaign after hearing harrowing first-hand accounts of how street violence destroys lives as part of a partnership programme between St John’s Ambulance’s Rise Project and Release the Peace.

Margaret Mizen and Grace Idowu both lost their sons Jimmy and David in 2008 and they have been going into schools in east London to speak to children as young as 10 years old.

Afterwards, the pupils are encouraged to focus on learning first aid instead in workshops led by St John’s Ambulance, learning techniques such as putting a person in the recovery position and treating severe bleeding.

Pupils at Elmhurst Primary School will learn how to save lives on July 15 and 16.

Simone Dixon, Head of Year Five, said: “We at Elmhurst feel it’s important that children feel empowered to drive change in their community and our pupils have shown great determination and enthusiasm in promoting this.”

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Brampton Primary School, on Masterman Road, East Ham, St Anne’s Primary School, on Underwood Road, Whitechapel, and Thomas Buxton Primary School, on Buxton Street, Whitechapel, and Globe Primary School, on Gawber Street Bethnal Green, all completed the training last month.

Kathleen Conway, assistant head teacher of Globe Primary School, said: “The more we increase our young people’s awareness of how to keep themselves safe and what to do if things go wrong, the better for all of us.

“Our Year Six children will soon be leaving us, taking another step forward into a bigger, sometimes unpredictable, wider world.

Kathleen added: “Let’s hope they never find themselves in a situation where someone’s life is at risk but, should this happen, they’ll have a better idea of what to do to help and maybe even save that life.”