Take one group of year 6 children from my local primary school, have them do a load of stuff that they're really proud of, then make them stand up and sing (very proficiently) So Strong. I am choking up again as I think about it now.
The cruel people who did this to me last week were the staff at Rosslyn Park Primary School. They invited me to come and work with Year 6 on their Aspirations project. I was to work with a group of writers to produce a script. There would be other groups working on filming and directing it later in the week, a team of reporters to talk to members of staff, local people about their memories and thoughts about jobs and ambition. Every child would produce a poster about his or her aspiration and have their picture taken by the photography team. Everyone in the year would have a role and, at the end of the week, there would be a showcase of the work.
I spent two days working with the writing team on a script. In fact, they were so efficient that we had time for editing, for other students to research locations and a couple to start storyboarding the screenplay. I was so impressed. With their imagination. With their ambition. And with their literacy skills and some of the nuances of language and visual storytelling they understood.
On Friday afternoon, I was back in the school for the showcase. Roll singing children and me with a great big lump in my throat.
There's a lot of negativity towards kids, especially estate kids, in tracksuits and hoodies. There are loads of reasons for this and it's outside the scope of this blog post to explore but I'd strongly suggest to anyone wondering that they read this book. What I will say is that energy can be focused in the right direction by very gentle (if insistent) force.
And that this feels like the most important bit of work I've done in a very long time...