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Waltham Forest Council statement - BRIT project in Greenleaf School

“Our Building Resilience through Integration & Trust (BRIT) project works with primary school pupils and their families to develop community cohesion.


“Rather than shy away from difficult subjects, it helps children explore the idea of identity, values and their place in modern society by deliberately focusing on challenging topics that are relevant to the world we live in today including online bullying, gang violence and exploitation of various kinds. It is not designed to specifically address extremism and radicalisation, but does not shy away from these subjects if they arise naturally during the course of the programme, for example if children raise issues themselves.


“The programme is delivered to whole classes of ten and 11 year olds and is not targeted at children of any one faith. Schools have helped shape the project’s content and on the whole, it has been received well, with more schools expressing an interest in signing up.


“The programme is completely voluntary. Greenleaf Primary School, which is rated by Ofsted as Outstanding, is no different and wrote to all parents before the project started, inviting them to an information session where they could ask questions. Following the first phase of the programme seven pupils of different religions, who were felt to be lacking in confidence and self-esteem, went on to take part in the next phase of the programme which is designed to help them play a more active role in the school and local community. Parental consent was provided for all of the seven pupils to participate.


“Evaluating the project, as with anything we do, is key in showing us what impact it has. We have acknowledged that the survey initially used to evaluate the scheme needed refining, and our evaluation process needs further input from schools and parents to ensure it is a helpful process that looks at group responses as a whole to measure impact. To that end the survey was scrapped in May and all copies of it have been destroyed. Children’s individual survey responses have never been passed on to anyone or used to ‘profile’ children as an organisation recently implied.


“The BRIT project is funded by the Prevention and Fight Against Crime (ISEC) European Commission funding stream and we have never tried to hide this fact. The programme relies heavily on trust and baseless, sensationalist claims about the programme’s intentions are not only unhelpful; they undermine a worthy project that tackles issues facing everyone in today’s society.


“We are proud of what the BRIT programme is designed to achieve, and while we recognise that we need to work closely with the community to deliver it in a way that harnesses trust and collaboration, we will continue working with our schools so our children can enjoy a more cohesive community.”

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