New education fund for Grenfell Tower survivors

New education fund for Grenfell Tower survivors

A new education fund to support young people affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster will be set up by Kensington and Chelsea Council.

The council unanimously carried a motion for financial support to mitigate “the negative impact” of the experience on “the educational achievement and attainment of young people” on July 19, at its first full gathering since the fire.

The intention is for the new Grenfell Education Fund to support the provision of resources such as uniforms, additional tutoring and extracurricular activities.

The size of the fund has yet to be decided, but a council spokesperson told Schools Week that it is asking local headteachers about how much money is likely to be needed – and there are currently no upper or lower boundaries for the size of the fund.

The catastrophic fire at the 24-storey housing block on June 14 killed at least 80 people, according to police reports, with school children among those who died or were left homeless.

The motion said the council “recognises the long-term impact of trauma on the lives of young people who have witnessed and experienced shocking events, particularly those which involve the loss of many lives”.

It continued: “This council resolves to establish a Grenfell Education Fund in order to address the additional educational challenges and barriers that the young survivors and witnesses of the Grenfell Tower disaster will face over the remaining years of their education.”

The funding will be used to support “the cost of uniform and other essential school equipment”, and provide “additional tuition – especially around key times such as year 6 SATs, GCSEs and A-levels” and “additional extracurricular and other activities or trips which would not otherwise be available”.

It will also pay for “bursaries to encourage access to further and higher education”, “an education advocate who can support families in making effective use of the funds available”, and support for schools with “the costs of monitoring, analysing and reporting on the educational attainment of affected children”.

The cabinet will now “produce a clear plan outlining how this would be funded”, as well as developing eligibility criteria and establishing how schools and families will access the money, which will be done “in consultation with community and survivor groups”, according to the council meeting minutes.

The meeting also saw a new senior leadership team put in place for the council.

Councillor Emma Will, the cabinet member for families and children’s services, said: “Our new Grenfell Education Fund will develop further with time, reflecting the feedback from our communities, our amazing headteachers, and from school staff to ensure that the long-term support we are giving is in place for all children and young people affected by the fire.”

Kensington and Chelsea council has so far allocated £250,000 to schools in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Kensington Aldridge Academy was particularly affected by the tragedy, and has been closed since the fire. It will start the next academic year in temporary accommodation.

Pupils will use temporary classrooms 15 minutes’ walk from the usual campus, with transport provided for those who cannot walk or take the bus.

The government is reviewing all schools over four storeys high to find out what type of cladding is on the buildings after the Grenfell Tower blaze.

So far the Department for Education has identified two schools which had similar cladding to Grenfell: the London Enterprise Academy in Whitechapel, a secondary academy, and the Bridge Primary School in Islington, a primary special school which is part of a residential block.

Both have been informed that their cladding did not pass combustibility tests.