We ask you to take a moment to read Lucy’s words below that struck a chord with all in attendance...
“What does the LAET mean to me? What does this school, as someone who has grown up in Tottenham, mean to me?
“As a girl who has grown up in unfortunately over-populated school environments and as a girl who has grown up in an ostracised, high-crime area - what does this mean to me?
“What does the LAET mean to me when the first memories I have of secondary education are the mass security checks on students because teachers couldn’t ignore the statistics?
“What does the LAET mean to me when the next memory I have is missing out on school lunches because my mum couldn’t afford to put money on my school lunch account, because she wouldn’t be able to give us dinner too? Because she has to pay for travel to work? Because she has to take back pawned, precious jewellery from her mother and grandmother before it’s auctioned, because she needed the money to get us all Christmas presents?
“What does being given a fully-fledged, supportive chance at social mobility really mean to someone like me, when the percentage of people who go to Russell Group Universities from Tottenham is only one per cent? A statistic I will never forget because I know how true it is - because going to University isn’t the next logical step when your family is struggling and you need money fast, if you even have the grades to do so. Because going to University doesn’t seem attainable when your parents, your grandparents, your cousins and nieces have, by proof of evidence, suggested to you that your chances of going to University are little to none.
“The question shouldn’t be ‘What does the LAET mean to me?’ - it should be ‘What does the LAET mean to us?’, the students given the resources needed to go further when they can’t get them themselves.
“What does this school mean to our community? The people who think there’s no chance at achievement because they’ve barely been given one?
“LAET’s collaboration with private schools is revolutionary because it should have happened years ago - but it didn’t occur to me it was possible in the first place.
“The question ‘What does the LAET mean?’ isn’t the easiest to answer, but the implications and effects are clear to me, the students who study here and the teachers - because we’ve never been so motivated...because we’re breaking those statistics.”
For more information about the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham, visit laetottenham.ac.uk