Paying extortionate amounts of money to UNICEF (see Trash passim) seems to have gotten the school the celebrity treatment. We have reported on the visit of heartthrob Tom Hiddleston, but this week brought a fresh reminder that, however nice, the showbiz meet-and-greet is just a mutual ruse to create meaningless publicity.
The Head in his infinite (if not ultimately flawed) sense of media savvy found time in his busy schedule of learning walks and pretending to be a headteacher of a school to stop by for a great group shot with Coriolanus and one of the less evil cabinet members, but thankfully such a vomit-inducing picture of superficial media excellence (or should I say 'good’ness?) was contained to the school and UNICEF websites. That said, past experience tells us that the Head will find every physical way possible to post that glory shot wherever possible.
Despite purporting to be a 'talk’ with Hampstead students, there seemed to be surprisingly little talking on the part of the students in the video released and instead a lot of talking at students. In fact, the substantive part of the accompanying video of the event consisted of a heartfelt if slightly naïve piece to camera by the only one in the room who could remember lines (save the children, or the minister for that matter, or the Head…)
In a patronising tone, the Secretary of State said that after this meeting she wanted to go to the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul with some (pre-established) ideas and be “able to say ‘well this is what UK young people think’.” Not being funny, but the students, or ‘people of age minority’, in that room do not accurately represent what Hampstead Young people think and do (I mean, they did PSCHEJKSDF work for starters), let alone what all 11 million children in this country think. It doesn't take a mathematician to tell you a ten kids from a single school does not make a great sample to extrapolate for all kids.
Asked what the government was doing to ensure children were safe in school, Justine Greening MP commented on “how much we had tried to do” in responding to the Syria crisis, because dropping bombs on an already war-torn country makes kids safer. Unless, of course, she was referring to the child refugees fleeing the conflict, to whom the government had done the arse-end of nothing to help until they had been bullied into taking on more child refugees that day in a u-turn.
Now, there were some genuine points made in the UNICEF video, and so we suggest that you do read up a little on what UNICEF do, but, as is our fault with this event in particular, it is not enough to simply be aware of a problem. Talk about acting does not amount to action.