NewVIc students meet former teachers' leader and Plaistow pupil

Fred Jarvis speaking to NewVIc students
NewVIc welcomed a very special visitor to the college in June when Fred Jarvis came to meet students in the building where he was a pupil 70 years ago. Fred attended Plaistow Secondary School from 1935-1940 which occupied one of the buildings currently used by the college.

Fred told the students of his experience of being educated at Plaistow Secondary School which included being evacuated twice during the war to both Weymouth and Newquay. Fred, like many of his classmates, left school at sixteen to enter the world of work as his family could not support him through any further education. It wasn’t until later, after serving in the war and being given an ex-servicemen grant, that he was able to return to education and completed a degree at the University of Oxford.

Fred was keen to revisit his old school and to meet some of today’s students to talk about their plans to progress to university and how the college and their families have supported them with their aspirations. He compared the opportunities available to today’s young people with those of his generation and was clear that things have improved enormously.

The students were very positive about the opportunities open to them at NewVIc, such as links with universities including Pembroke College, Oxford, King’s College London and Queen Mary University of London. Students spoke of the support given to them by their teachers and the many activities open to them such as the Higher Education Week, university mentoring and regular visits and open days.

Eddie Playfair, NewVIc principal, said: “It was a real privilege to welcome Fred Jarvis to NewVIc. Fred was the general secretary of the NUT when I was a young teacher and he has always championed comprehensive and inclusive education for all. He believes that the best opportunities need to be available to all young people and is concerned that there are still too many obstacles to success facing today’s ambitious young people from places like Newham.”

Read Fred Jarvis' account of his visit in the TES