Trinity Catholic High School is a co-ed Catholic comprehensive school in Woodford. The school has over 1,600 pupils and is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. Local MP Iain Duncan Smith visited the school recently to talk with pupils from several different year groups about issues that concerned them. Pupils from Key Stage 3 (aged 11-14) posed questions ranging from the over use of plastics to gang related crime. The discussion was well informed.
Year 10 students ran a mock election during the recent council elections and several of these students shared their experiences of their own election’s campaigning, which included hustings, live broadcasts and the nail-biting tension as the votes were counted. Mr Duncan Smith congratulated the group on its interest in politics and one student commented that the encouragement from Iain Duncan Smith inspired him to consider a career in politics. A group of Sixth Form students raised the worrying topic of gangs and gang-related crime. Iain Duncan Smith commented that where cities had enjoyed success in reducing gang-related crime, it was usually led by local initiatives and projects. Following a period during which gang-related crime had fallen in Waltham Forest, it was now on the rise again and Mr Duncan Smith stressed that future discussions across all London boroughs should result in more projects focused on this area, as well as the additional contributory factors of reducing poverty and creating life chances for all. He referred them to a 2009 publication of a study conducted by the Centre for Social Justice, Dying to Belong, an in depth study of Street Gangs and how to tackle them: https://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/library/dying-belong-depth-review-street-gangs-britain
Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP for Chingford & Woodford Green said:
“Trinity is an excellent school where young people can reach their full potential, a credit to their remarkable Headmaster and his staff. I was impressed that three different age groups engaged me in an intelligent and thoughtful way. I was pleased that they all quickly grasped the fact that education and life skills are crucial to prevent people from being tempted to join gangs. Action on gang-related crime is what people want. Where crime is reduced, both individuals and businesses flourish.”
Dr Paul Doherty OBE, headmaster, said:
“It was a pleasure to welcome our local MP to our school. Mr Duncan Smith helped to provide the students with answers to their questions about society and their role in it. We often consider young people as the future of our society and Mr Duncan Smith was very encouraging in communicating the message that young people have an important role to play in today’s society. This is similar to the Catholic teaching that places the needs of every individual at the heart of our mission as a school.”