Come and hear the remarkable story of Stepney Words from Chris Searle and his former pupils. In 1971, a young east London English teacher, Chris Searle, was sacked by the governors of Sir John Cass Foundation School (now Stepney All Saints School) for publishing Stepney Words, a collection of his students' poems – raw, honest and direct -- about their neighbourhood and communities. When the poems were reprinted in the national press, Stepney Words became an overnight sensation. Protesting against Searle’s dismissal, over 800 students from all over east London went on strike and marched through the City of London to Trafalgar Square. In an era of national unrest, the children’s strike was widely supported, and provoked new debate about modern education.
At this event, those who were part of Stepney Words will be joined by historians and activists who will reflect on its significance in 1971 and its resonances today. The afternoon will include performances from the veteran poets, today’s up and coming east London poets, and new voices from Stepney All Saints School.