Saturday, 11 July 2020

Uncovering the history of Church End and Chapel End, Willesden – Part 2



In Part 1 we looked at the church and chapel(s) that gave these parts of Willesden their names. This time, we’ll discover more about the history of the areas by exploring the stories of some of their landmark buildings, starting with those in Church End.


1.    A sketch map of the area, based on the 1895 O.S. map, with featured landmark buildings shown.
The “Six Bells public house was built before 1724, and was known as the Five Bells, until the ring at St. Mary’s was augmented to six, when the name had to be changed! It later became known as The Old Six Bells. Being close to the church, it was a favourite meeting place of the Willesden Vestry members, during winter before their new Hall was built, when the church was cold. A Post Office letter box was fixed in its wall in 1870, and the pub was later converted into a shop, as seen in this photograph. The little pub has now disappeared. 
2.   The old "Six Bells", as a shop and post office, c.1920.
3.   Willesden's Round House lock-up, in the 19th century. (Brent Archives online image 2128)

The Round House, was a “lock-up”, or “cage,” on the corner of Neasden Lane, close to the church. It was used to house criminals waiting to see the Magistrate, and is pictured in the story of Jack Sheppard, seen in Part 1. Some of the stone from the building, after it was demolished, was used in the construction of St. Mary’s School (see below).


4.  The Vestry Hall, with original fire station beside it.

The Vestry Hall is a small building, that still stands by the roundabout where Neasden Lane meets Willesden High Road, near to St. Mary’s Church. It was built in 1857, when the Willesden Vestry, a parish meeting which was the forerunner of the Local Council, decided that they needed a purpose-built Hall. It would include a fireproof cupboard for the precious Vestry Minutes, and would also house the Willesden fire engine. 

When the Vestry was replaced by the Willesden Local Board, in 1874, the public enquiry was held in the Vestry Hall. This quaint landmark has survived fire, has served as a nursery, and now houses the foodbank run by the Trussell Trust.


5.    St. Mary's School, as proposed in 1845, and in 1947. (Brent Archives online images 3030 and 1286)

Willesden National School (St. Mary’s School) was one of the earliest schools to open in Willesden. The Vestry decided, in 1809, to establish a Sunday School for 80 children of the poor, giving them a chance to learn to read and write. The local farmers, who relied on children’s labour at certain times of the year, were less than impressed by this idea, thinking that the youngsters would get ideas “above their station”. The original Sunday School became a day-school in 1818, transferring into a new building in 1853, beside Willesden Lane (renamed Willesden High Road by 1900). It was funded by public subscription. 

The School remained in use until 1972, and is fondly remembered by generations of Church End schoolchildren. The new St. Mary’s School is in Garnet Road, to the west of the Church. Willesden Magistrates’ Court is now on the site of the old school (and the Six Bells).

In 1861, a new St. Mary’s Vicarage was built in Neasden Lane, opposite the Church, and looking out over the cricket field behind. It was the latest in a long line, dating back to the 12th century, and was itself replaced by a handsome house, designed by the architect Caroe, in 1904. The Caroe house was bought by British Thomson-Houston, the electrical engineers, for use as a conference centre by their directors. A vicarage designed by Cachermaille-Day, was built in 1939 on a site next door, nearer to the corner of Neasden Lane, and surrounded by a lovely garden. 

No trace of these buildings remains. The site on the corner was sold to developers in 2002, and now has a block of flats built on it. The present, much smaller vicarage was built on the opposite side of Neasden Lane, beside St. Mary’s Parish Centre (where Willesden Local History Society holds its monthly meetings, when we are not in lockdown!).

 6.   The White Hart Hotel, c. 1882 and as rebuilt in 1900. (Brent Archives online images 1241 and 1474)

A pub was in existence at the corner of Church Road and Willesden Lane by 1749. It was first known as “The Gate”, and then “The Leather Bottle”, with the name changed to The White Hart” in 1791. In Victorian times it was famous for its pleasure garden, and was enlarged in 1882. During the next two decades, the White Hart became the headquarters of the Neasden Cycling Club, and also the Finchley Harriers (when Finchley became built up, the runners preferred the more rural lanes and fields of Willesden for their cross-country runs!) The pub was also the local horse-bus terminus. The White Hart closed in 2002, and was demolished soon after, replaced by a block of flats, with a large shop on the ground floor.


7.    The White Horse public house, in 1874 and 1905. (Brent Archives online images 7287 and 1084)

The White Horse” public house was also in Church Road, nearer to Harlesden, at the corner with Roundwood Road. A beerhouse stood on the site by 1801, later becoming fully-licensed. In 1888, it was replaced by a larger, brick building, which was damaged during the Second World War. It was repaired, but slowly declined in popularity. The White Horse was demolished in 1998, and replaced by flats, with a Veterinary Surgery on the ground floor.


8.   The Granada Cinema, Church Road, in 1933 and 1960. (Brent Archives online images 10375 and 426)

The Granada Cinema in Church Road opened in 1921, beside the industrial area of Cobbold Road. Already a large building, its seating capacity was increased to 2,000 in 1928. As “The Empire”, it was a popular venue for the whole of Willesden, with a famous cinema organ. The cinema closed in 1962, then reopened as a bingo hall. It then a became a church, and finally has been developed as flats, with the church still occupying the ground floor.

Chapel End, as well as the chapels themselves, also had a number of landmark buildings.

In 1828, the Vestry ordered the construction of a Pound, a walled area at the corner of Petticoat Stile Lane (which soon became known as Pound Lane). Following the Inclosure Act of 1810, which allowed existing landowners to divide up common land, such as Willesden Green, among themselves, ordinary people had nowhere to graze the few animals they kept.  


9.  The corner of Pound Lane and the High Road, with the Pound on the right, from a drawing of around 1890.

Stray dogs, horses, donkeys and sheep were rounded up, to prevent damage to gardens and orchards. They could be confined until their owners paid a fee for their release. The fee in 1830 was fourpence a day, plus the cost of feed, and a Mr Kilby was appointed as Pound Keeper. He remained in office until 1886, when it was decided that the Pound had outlived its usefulness. It was dismantled a few years later.


10.                  St. Mary's Infants School, Pound Lane, c.1900 and c.1950. (Brent Archives online images 3028 and 3033)

St. Mary’s Infants School was a small school, for infants only. It was opened at Pound Lane in 1858, on land given by All Souls College, Oxford (important land-owners in Willesden). This building survives, and is now used by an Evangelical Church.

The Case is Altered” public house, originally a beerhouse, was probably built in the 1850s, on a greenfield site. It was enlarged in 1877, but proved still too small for the rapidly-expanding population. A rebuild in 1887, and further expansion in 1915, provided the huge building we see today. The three-storey red brick building, opposite the junction with Dudden Hill Lane, has since been painted black, and provides hostel and bar accommodation, named “No.8.”


11.                  The Case is Altered public house, on the left, with the old Chapel in the distance, c.1880.

The Crown” Public House, was built on Willesden High Road opposite the new Chapel. Enlarged in 1905, this attractive building closed for business in 2015, and still awaits a purchaser.

St.John the Baptist church, in Dudden Hill Lane,  opened in 1901, as a Mission Church of St. Andrew’s, Willesden Green. It closed as a church by 1937, and has been used since as the Brent Indian Centre, more recently named the “Sir Learie Constantine Centre,” in honour of the famous West Indian cricketer.

Willesden Green Electric Palace was a small cinema that opened next door to the first non-conformist Chapel in 1910. It was renamed “The Savoy” in 1933, and “The Metro” in 1949. The building survived until 2018, after being used as a cab office, then a church. It has now been demolished, and the site remains empty so far.

The purpose–built Pound Lane Drill Hall and training ground was opened in 1911, for military recruiting and training purposes. Col. Charles Pinkham, a local businessman and politician, organised the Willesden Defence League, which eventually became the Middlesex Volunteer Regiment. During the First World War, Pinkham raised two Battalions of the 9th Middlesex Regiment, who went to fight in Mesopotamia (now Iraq). The Drill Hall eventually became used as a working men’s hostel, Pound Lodge, which was demolished around 2013, and replaced by a St Mungo’s Hostel, of striking modern design.

In 1900, the London General Omnibus Company bought land for stables at Pound Lane. Seven horse-buses an hour were running by 1903. Horse-drawn services were withdrawn in 1911, (despite protests by locals, who did not trust the new motor buses), and the site became the present Willesden Bus Garage. The bus garage has been an important local employer for over 100 years, with 958 people working there in 1949.


12.                 An aerial view of Willesden Bus Garage in 1921, with the Drill Hall across Pound Lane from the back of it. What other Chapel End landmark buildings can you spot in this picture?

Please join me next weekend, for the final part of this series, when we will look at some of the industries that came to Church End and Chapel End, and how local housing changed in the 20th century.

Margaret Pratt.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Brent Council must attend mediation with Bridge Park campaigners before July 20th High Court hearing

The High Court Hearing to hear litigation between Bridge Park campaigners and Brent Council LINK will take place on July 20th.

Am Emergency Notice on Brent Council Forward Plan gives the Chief Executive as the decision maker and states that before July 20th a date has to be fixed for  mediation between the parties:
The hearing in respect of the litigation will commence on 20 July 2020. This was uncertain until the conclusion of a hearing on 6 July 2020. No date for the mediation, which is intended to take place prior to the hearing commencing, has yet been fixed. The date of the hearing has been fixed by the Court and the mediation process requires that the Chief Executive be in a position to reach a binding agreement with the other parties to the litigation, hence the need for the usual period of notice in relation to the Forward Plan along with call-in to be waived.
Next week will be busy with the  recount for the Barnhill by-election taking place in the Royal Courts of Justice  on July 17th and 18th. The Chief Executive was the Returning Officer for the by-election.




Stop Annexation, Brent Divest: meeting Monday July 13th via Zoom

 
Zoom meeting on Monday July 13th 7.00 - 8.45PM 
email brent2harrowpsc@outlook.com for zoom log-in
  
Stop Annexation! Hugh Lanning, Labour & Palestine 

The Israeli Government, with the support of Donald Trump, is threatening to annex more Palestininan lands. How do we build a campaign to stop them?

Brent Divest!  Liz Lindsay and Martin Francis, local activists and BHPSC 

Building a campaign to get Brent Council to divest its pension fund from companies who are complicit in the oppression of Palestininans.    

Brent & Harrow Palestine Solidarity Campaign supported by Brent Trades Union Council and Brent Stop the War

Members of the Brent Council Pension Fund particularly welcome 
- the pension fund is your deferred wages

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Barnhill By-Election recount fixed for July 16th and 17th

I understand that the High Court has fixed the date for the disputed Barnhill by-election count will take place on July 16th and 17th at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand. Numbers of attendees will be limited due to social distancing measures being in place.

The by-election was held on January 23rd following the resignations of Michael Pavey and Sarah Marquis and was won narrowly by the Labour candidates.

The petition submitted by the Conservative Party under the Representation of the People Act sets out the case for a recount.  The gap between the lowest Labour vote and the highest Conservative vote was just 70. The petition claims that at the count, which went on into the early hours of January 24th, 100 Conservatives block votes were wrongly placed in the Labour bundle and that the Conservative candidates should have been duly elected as the candidates with the highest number of votes.


Brent Council: discarded facemasks can go in litter bins

All within a few yards of the petrol station on Blackbird Hill
You can hardly not have noticed the new littering in Brent consisting of 'disposable' face masks, unfortunately disposed of by throwing them on pavements or grass verges.  Many seem to be the cheap version where the elastic is glued, rather than sewn, on to the fabric.

I received a press release recently from  a waste disposal company describing the waste as 'hazardous' and a threat to public health as well as the environment.  They offered 'pop-up' PPE disposal bins in town centres.

I contacted Brent Council noting that with the requirement for face coverings on public transport the litttering was likely to increase. They responded:
The advice of our Director of Public Health and our waste collection contractors is that no special or clinical waste collection arrangement is necessary and that these items can be placed in normal litter bins or safely collected by street cleaners if dropped on the ground.






Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Survey reveals largest group of public feel lockdown should have been earlier and has been relaxed too soon

From Ipso MORI 

New polling from Ipsos MORI reveals how the British public divides into five groups, according to their different views towards the timing of the original lockdown measures in March, and the relaxation of some of the measures in July.

The survey, taken after the announcement of the relaxation but before the measures were actually lifted, shows that the largest grouping are the “Earlier, longer lockdown” segment.  Making up around half of Britons (48%), this group says both that the original lockdown measures on the 23rd March were introduced too late (with the benefit of hindsight), and that the relaxations in England announced for July 4th are happening too quickly.  Another 11% are “Becoming more cautious”: they believe that the original measures were introduced too soon or at the right time, but are now worried they are being relaxed too quickly.


Who is in these groups?

  • The “Earlier, longer lockdown” group is relatively likely to be aged between 45-64 (42% of this group are that age), and to have voted Labour in the 2019 General Election or Remain in the 2016 EU referendum (45% and 50% of this group respectively).
  • The “Becoming more cautious” group is the oldest segment (39% are aged 55 to 75), is slightly more female than male (by 53% to 46%), and six in ten live in the Midlands and South of England. Half (52%) of this group voted Conservative in 2019.
  • The “Government got it right then and now” segment is the most middle-class group (36% are in social class AB), and it also has relatively high proportions of 25-34 year olds (29%) and of parents (34%).  Unsurprisingly, six in ten of this group voted Conservative in the 2019 election and Leave in the 2016 referendum.
  • The “Started too late but now ready for relaxing” group is also slightly younger (39% are aged 18-34), but in this case are slightly more male than female (by 54% to 45%).  They also have a slightly higher proportion of 2019 Conservative voters (45%). 
Overall, seven in ten (69%) now think that the original lockdown in March 23rd was imposed too late. 22% think it was at about the right time and 5% that they were taken too soon.   While perceptions have changed little since the end of April, there has been a clear shift since immediately after the lockdown was introduced, when 56% thought the measures were being taken too late, and 35% at the right time. 


Six in ten (60%), feel that the relaxation announced for England on the 4th July are happening too quickly, rising to seven in ten among Labour, Liberal Democrat and Remain voters.  Almost three in ten (28%) think the measures are being relaxed at the right time (rising to 42% of 2019 Conservatives), but just 8% think the relaxation is happening too slowly.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:
 These findings confirm our other research that, overall, Britons tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to the lockdown measures.  But it also shows that these views aren’t static.  Even though the real number of cases has fallen, perceptions have hardened that the original measures were imposed too late, underpinned by a clear partisan divide. 

Nevertheless, even with the benefit of hindsight, not everyone takes the same line for both the March restrictions and the July relaxation.  Some want to keep the restrictions in place for longer, but others are ready for them to be relaxed, even if they felt they were originally introduced too late, and there is also a minority who think the government has always picked the right time.  This all suggests that despite views hardening the public hasn’t yet come to a final view, with the impact of the relaxation this weekend likely to be key in determining whether the Government is seen as leading public opinion or moving before it was ready.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Complete Brent Council's Covid19 impact survey to help current & future planning


Brent Council has launched a residents' survey so as to understand the impact of Covid19 and to enable planning for current and future needs.

The survey can be found HERE

Monday, 6 July 2020

Brent Trades Council Covid19 Action Campaign launches on July 15th


BRENT TRADES COUNCIL - COVID19 ACTION CAMPAIGN
SAFER WORKPLACES, SAFER SCHOOLS, SAFER COMMUNITIES
 
The campaign will be launched at hte Zoom Meeting, 7pm, July 15th 2020
 
Meeting ID:  853 0416 7019 

Password: seeyou3
 
Contact:  BRC19AC@yahoo.com 
Facebook: LINK
 
The aim of the campaign is to bring together local unions, community organisations, councillors and other supporters to decide how we can best promote health and safety measures in the community and in the workplace. As you all know Brent has been in the papers as it is the borough with the highest numbers of deaths. 36 deaths were recorded in the Church End Estate where many members of the Somali community live. We have had an excellent response from community organisations and unions to our request for contributions and our campaign sub-committee is still working on inviting further representatives.

Kilburn Times breaks story over Brent Council leader's attendance at prayer service during lockdown

Great work by reporter Nathalie Raffray has just been published on the Kilburn Times website LINK.

In summary the report says that Brent Council leader, Cllr Muhammed Butt amd Councillor Sangani attended a prayer service at the Ealing Road Mandir despite a government ban on collective acts of worship in faith buildings as part of the Covid19 restrictions.

To make matters worse they were joined by former Alperton Labour Party council candidate Chetan Harpale who was suspended from the Labour Party and  subsequently defeated at the Alperton by-election by Liberal Democrat Anton Georgiou.

Harpale was suspended after his social media posts applauding Tory MP Bob Blackman and Indian PM Modi, calling Jeremy Corbyn a 'pro- Jihadist and labelling Pakistan a 'Terror State'.

Do read the full story for all the circumlocutions.

Grunwick strike: Film of 'We are the Lions Mr Manager' available on-line for limited period.

Received from Townsend Theatre Productions

You can be the first to see our film of edited archive footage of the production 'We are the Lions, Mr. Manager! touring  2017-18/ filmed at TARA Theatre, Earlsfield, London in November 2017. 
To view film click link:  https://youtu.be/emDZYCbX_Eg  The film will be available for one month ONLY until 6th AUGUST.  Please click icon on bottom right that says cc for Subtitles.
If you enjoy the film please make a DONATION via our donate pop up or our Support Us page on our website: http://townsendproductions.org.uk

A suggested donation would be £3 which would help the company through these difficult times. Many thanks, and we hope very much you enjoy the film. Please keep an eye on our website for more online offerings coming soon, while we're not currently able to tour.

The Grunwick Strike of 1976 to 1978 wasn’t a strike about wages – it was about something much more important than that: it was about dignity. Dignity at work. Newly arrived immigrant workers were employed by the Grunwick film processing factory in North London in the belief that they would be easy to handle, to browbeat and to exploit. Yet, they found their own distinctive voice in the course of the struggle to secure their rights. Each morning the strikers, a group of predominantly Asian women led by Jayaben Desai, in colourful saris often hidden beneath heavy woollen coats, would take up their posts on the picket lines, unbowed and unbroken in the face of intimidation, the threat of arrest and the sting of the cold. Even during the hardest of times, Jayaben Desai had the uncanny ability to evoke a mood or sum up a situation with a perfectly weighted turn of phrase and a way and with words that captured the very essence of the human spirit. She had the measure of the most brutish and charmless of her managers, when she told them: ‘What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are the lions, Mr. Manager!’
Grunwick truly did make history: it focused the issue of the exploitation of immigrant workers, nailed the myth that Asian workers were passive and unorganisable and defined the trade union and political lives of tens of thousands from across the nation who came to the streets of Willesden to back the Grunwick workers. Grunwick was a defeat. But a struggle like Grunwick cannot be considered a total loss. It illustrated how a section of totally unorganised workers, ignorant of trade unionism and insecure in a foreign land can yet develop militancy and attract huge solidarity. It showed too that all the forces of the state, the monied, the media, the police, the courts, employers, racial prejudice and women’s inequality can be swept aside by the freshness and dynamism of determined struggle. Grunwick is still posing questions to today’s generation about the role in society of women, workers and immigrants. And the strike still carries a challenging message about the need for human dignity. 
The play was written by Neil Gore, directed by Louise Townsend and features Medhavi Patel as Jayaben Desai and Neil Gore as almost everybody else. 
COMING SOON! - Podcast of 'Dare Devil Rides To Jarama' & a documentary film of interviews made with Shipbuilding communities across the UK.
The script is available to buy from Stagescripts: 

Brent Patient Voice seeks information on Covid19 deaths in Brent


Robin Sharp (Chair- Brent Patient Voice) has asked  Councillor Hirani, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure & Culture a number of questions about the impact of Covid19 in Brent. Cllr Hirani's answers are in italics. There is provision for him to ask a follow-up question at the Council meeting on July 13th.

1(a) What is the latest number of deaths in Brent from or related to Covid-19?

1(a) According to the latest Office for National statistics figures, the number of COVID-19 related deaths is 484 as up to the 19th of June 2020. These are provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in Brent.

1(b) What is the latest number of “excess” deaths in Brent compared to the same period last year (i.e. from the start of the pandemic in the UK)

1(b) The provisional number of excess deaths from the beginning of the pandemic until May 31st compared to the same period in 2019 is 482.

1(c) Is there any estimated breakdown of the number of these excess deaths that may be from Covid-19 and those arising because the person dying did not access care due to the NHS focus on Covid-19? Can ward level figures be supplied please?

1(c) It is likely the vast majority of excess deaths were due to Covid-19. There is no information available on deaths arising due to a person dying as a result of the individual not accessing NHS care.

2. In the case where ONS have supplied a breakdown of Covid-19 deaths at ward level for Brent have any contributory factors for especially high deathrates in particular wards been provisionally identified, such as presence of care homes, one or more super-spreaders, a special event where transmissions might have taken place?

2. The Office for National Statistics does not supply this level of detail. Where it supplies deaths at local level they are just a number of deaths in what is called a Middle Super Output Area, a unit of geography used by the Office for National Statistics. This can be converted into ward level information approximately.There is no individual detail on the cases or the likely source of infection

3. Do the deaths in Brent relate to the place of death, e.g. a hospital, or to the place of normal residence of the person who died?

3.The Office for National statistics (ONS) data for Brent residents relates to the place of normal residence.

4. Is there data showing how many died from Covid-19 in hospitals, in care or other residential homes and in the community?

4. Below is the provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in Brent, deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), by place of death for which data are available. COVID-19 Deaths that occurred from 1st January 2020 up to 19th June 2020 but were registered up to 27th June 2020


Brent Youth Parliament challenges Brent Council on its response to Black Lives Matter




As the Black Lives Matter movement focuses attention on the actions of politicans both local and national it is worth looking at the historical context. Thirty years ago the Council launched the above video. Having been pilloried by the press as 'Barmy Brent', Brent Council tried to put the record straight with this film of the work the council was undertaking in the borough. A young journalist, instructed to get a story reinforcing the stereotypes, discovers something quite different. The section on the Development Programme for Educational Attainment and Racial Equality (DPEARE) starts at 6.33.

One of the main targets of the right-wing press was what they called 'Race Spies' (DPEARE),  advisers sent into schools to help them develop the curriculum and learning strategies to improve the quality of education and race equality:

Mail on Sunday October 19th 1986
The BBC made a notorious Panorama programme, Brent Schools - Hard Left Rules (30.3.87)  that took up the Mail's theme and All London Teachers Against Racism and Fascism tried to set the record straight:

Altarf Newsleter May1987
More than 30 years on the Brent Youth Parliament has challenged Brent Council on its response to the Black Lives Matters movement.

These are the questions and responses tabled for next Monday's Council Meeting.

Question from Brent Youth Parliament to Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of the Council

1.As a body that not only represents black communities but also many other BAME communities, does the council feel obligated to speak up on the matter? Is it simply enough to show purple lights to condemn the killing of George Floyd? On behalf of young people in the borough we are concerned that there has been no talk of action that can be taken to support BLM, even though this movement has highlighted the prevalence of systemic racism in the UK.

2. Brent’s communities are very diverse and some themselves do not think about the way they treat black people. Prevalent issues such as colourism in the Asian communities often cause such discrimination. As representatives of these communities would you call upon various ethnic minorities within Brent to consider their treatment of black people?

Questions 1 & 2:  Communities in Brent, one of the most diverse boroughs in the country, continue to be affected by inequalities and require decisive and urgent action by the Council and partners.

 In the context of global and local challenges and events the Council met with 72 black community leaders and representatives on 11 June to listen to concerns and take decisive action to make improvements for residents. In partnership with the black community leaders the Council has created the Black Lives Matter Action Plan and it is a demonstration of the council’s commitment to making long lasting changes for the Black communities of Brent.

The council wants to show respect, support and solidarity to our black community in Brent and that we are a borough where there is no place for racism and where equality and diversity are respected.


3. Moving forward, in order to create change, would the council consider reviewing the education system in Brent? As many schools in Brent are Academies, does this not allow the council some leverage and encourage schools to implement the teaching of Black history?

Brent young people are our future. The Council has a leadership role, in partnership with schools and colleges and a successful track record of working together to deliver good and outstanding education. As an example of the impact of this partnership approach, a project commissioned by the Council and started in 2018 has helped raise the achievement of boys of Black Caribbean Heritage. The most recent (2018/19) achievement data shows significant narrowing of gaps between the attainment of boys of Black Caribbean heritage and all pupils at Key Stage 2. In reading, writing and mathematics combined there has been an improvement of 16pcp representing a remarkable 70 per cent fall in the size of the gap. For the youngest children, there was a significant reduction in gaps for the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage. At Key Stage 4 for older children there was also an improvement, with the gaps between boys of Black Caribbean heritage and all pupils down from 12 percentage points to 8 percentage points.

We will continue to work with schools to encourage the teaching of black history. Brent Council has provided Brent schools with support to help them develop their curricula, for example, as part of Brent’s London Borough of Cultures 2020 programme, an education programme has been co-created with school leaders and young people, to help connect children and young people creatively with their local area, their heritage and their hopes for the future. Brent Council will build on this work to continue to influence and promote the teaching of black history in Brent schools.

Many of our schools offer excellent examples of the teaching of black history. Good practice examples include our schools which have been awarded the United Nations Rights Respecting Schools Award and schools complementing the national curriculum with the United Nations global sustainable development goals to reduce inequality and to promote inclusive societies and institutions.

 For those Brent schools which are academies, it is correct to say that they have some further flexibilities in setting their curriculum as they do not have to follow the national curriculum. Once schools and colleges have fully opened in the autumn, the Council, along with the Brent Schools Partnership, will be discussing the development of curricula with schools, to stimulate the positive teaching of black history in Brent schools.


4. Would the council consider commissioning a project to express black injustice in a creative way such as a Mural, similar to the one dedicated to the Grunwick strike, in order to remind those that come into the borough that we not only recognise black injustice but as a result we are dedicated to correcting the situation?

The council supports the idea of creating a mural in the borough to express black injustice and is willing to explore this idea.


5. Finally, how is the council planning on reaching young people in Brent that may be isolated or marginalised to reassure them about the council's position on the black lives matter movement?

We are committed to young people having a voice. In close consultation with local black community leaders/representatives, including young people, the Council has put together a Brent Black Community Action Plan setting out steps that will be taken to ensure we can help make improvements for local residents. The action plan includes an explicit commitment “to engage with young black people in the borough in settings and ways that are convenient for them. Treating young people as stakeholders with a voice.” Actions being taken include the following:

· The Council is collaborating with Young Brent Foundation to produce a series of podcasts exploring issues and concerns for young people in relation to the BLM movement and the impact of Covid-19 in the borough. The podcast will be designed to engage with young people, particularly those from BAME communities, through a series of conversations designed to encourage meaningful and constructive responses to BLM in their localities.
· We recently commissioned a special ‘Time to Talk Covid-19’, phone-in radio show with The Beat London to discuss why the BAME community is so disproportionately affected by Covid-19. The panel included a Brent Councillor, a community leader and a young person and aired during prime time to reach a large proportion of the young BAME community. We plan to continue working with The Beat London as one of our main channels for two-way engagement with young people in Brent around BLM issues.

The Council see Brent Youth Parliament as a crucial part of reaching young people in Brent who may feel marginalised, to reassure young people as to the Council’s actions and to give more young people the opportunity to have a voice, as you have so creditably done today

Elsewhere on the July 13th Council Meeting Agenda the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee notes:

The cancellation of the 22 April meeting meant a report on School Standards and Achievement Report 2018-19, including Action Plan for Raising Achievement of Boys of Black Caribbean Heritage, could not be discussed; however, the chair has committed to rescheduling it along with the deferred items in the 2020/2021 work plan to be presented to Council in September.