Raising Horizons

'Raising Horizons' at Henry Compton School

Nine high-profile speakers, from the fields of theatre, media, information technology, design, marketing, archives, the voluntary sector and the Army visited Henry Compton School, in Fulham to speak to pupils, as part of the school’s annual Black & Asian History Month celebrations. The event also linked with the Aimhigher initiative to raise students’ aspirations towards further and higher education.

The guests spent the morning working with about 20 pupils, aged 14, who are producing a booklet on role models for fellow year ten students. This will feature profiles on the guests and will be named after the event, Raising Horizons, now in its third year at the school. To read the interviews carried out by the students click on the role models names below.

The whole year group of about 100 pupils then had the chance to take part in an afternoon question and answer session with the guests, who explained how they progressed in the chosen careers and the challenges they faced along the way. The visitors were:
· Playwright Roy Williams, a former Henry Compton pupil, whose latest work Fallout was produced by the Royal Court Theatre, in Sloane Square
· Lakviar Singh, a senior producer in BBC TV Sport, who is also a published playwright and past winner of the Royal Court’s Young Writer of the Year award
· Sophia Skyers, policy analyst for the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations
· David Malcolm, head of information technology at PDD, one of the country’s leading companies specialising in designing and developing new products
· Jan Pimblett, from the London Metropolitan Archives, who has worked on a recent exhibition about the black population of Brixton
· Cilius Victor, chief information officer for the Henley Centre marketing consultancy as well as a council member of the Institute of Race Relations
· Sunny Hundal, a website designer who has created sites on Asians in the media and Asian lifestyle
· Two guests from the Army- Captain Leon Ayo, head of the diversity recruitment unit, and Warrant Officer Wayne Douglas, ethnic minority recruitment officer for London.

The morning session of the Raising Horizons event was for pupils identified as ‘gifted and talented’ through the Excellence in Cities programme to boost achievement in inner city schools, or those who are being encouraged to continue with their education beyond 16 through the Aimhigher programme.

Dan Lyndon, Henry Compton School’s head of history, said: “The boys asked the guests about the critical moments and the critical people that influenced them in their career choices. The most important message from our visitors was that the boys should make the most of whatever opportunities come their way and aim high.”

Other events during the school’s Black & Asian History Month included a visit by Asian musician Kiranpal Singh Deoora (below) - a tabla drummer and leading exponent of the santoor, a 100-stringed Kashmiri folk instrument. Kiranpal ran percussion workshops with pupils and joined a performance with music students during his visit last Tuesday (14 October).

Student prize winners also enjoyed an International Food Day lunch, with dishes from around the world being cooked by staff.

Cllr David Williams, deputy for education, said: “Henry Compton School has really entered into the spirit of Black History Month by promoting ethnic minority achievement in this positive and exciting way.Raising Horizons was an excellent chance for students to engage with people from diverse backgrounds who have been successful in their chosen careers. The boys were inspired by the high achievers who supported this event and I am sure there will be some who will become tomorrow’s celebrities with our support and their hard work.”