| Head's Blog

Last week a generation of children saw, with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, war in Europe for the first time. At school we have taken time to discuss these events with the children who are very aware that in Ukraine there will be children just like them who are living in fear.

War in Europe is an experience that has shaped generations before, from the ‘baby boomers’ who grew up in the aftermath of World War II to the millennials who witnessed the siege of Sarejavo. We had all hoped that we would not see such events again.

Our generation of children are the most connected yet. The children of the United Kingdom and Ukraine are linked through events such as the Champions League and the Eurovision Song Contest.

However, this is a generation of children who are already veterans of a global crisis. They have seen how colossally frightening life can be, far too young, and have made a lot of sacrifices. But they have endured, and are emerging stronger and prematurely wise. They are a survivor generation – a sleeves-up, pragmatic generation, with civic-minded aspirations.

The Big Ask Survey that was organised by the Children’s Commissioner, Rachel de Souza, wanted to hear the hopes, the fears, and the dreams of the current generation of children. There were over half a million responses. One thing that was very evident from the survey was the fact that the children want to be part of a wider community. Denied friendship during the pandemic, this generation of children have thought hard about bonds beyond family. They want to improve their local area and make it safer. They think hard about inequality, about injustice, about prejudice, about the environment – they want to engage with these things and address them.

We should not hide what is in the happening in the Ukraine, but support children in understanding it. We must remember that children can find solace in being part of a wider community that is comprehending and responding to these events.

Mark Beach