The Founder and CEO of Pioneers International Academy, Esther Awovi Akafia visited Tottenham last month, visiting local schools, the iconic stadium and seeing the progress of the Haringey African Schools Partnership first-hand.

By Omar Alleyne-Lawler, Communications and Police Engagement Manager

Pioneers CEO, Esther Akafia visited London last month, spending time with Hope in Haringey and partners in a landmark visit to the capital. Esther, who was invited to the capital by HASP Director, John Wood MBE; arrived to see how the Haringey African Schools Partnership works for Haringey’s young people and schools.

The visit started with Esther attending the south Tottenham-based, Park View School. The visit would align on a special day for the school who were teaching a decolonised approach to the history of Africa which Esther got to observe.

Taking time to speak with the school’s senior leadership team and students, Esther was greeted with a tour of the school and its facilities. Visits like these are key, with both sides coming to learn about the similarities and differences between how education is taught in the two countries.

Esther visited Park View, being shown around the South Tottenham school by its best and brightest.

This learning would be built on whilst visiting London Academy of Excellence Tottenham (LAET). The academy, which has been approached to join as HASP’s fifth school, served as an interesting contrast between the two learning institutions. For Pioneers, the parallels between itself and LAET come from its own Cambridge Univeristy accredited teaching system, whilst LAET sees its graduates attend Oxbridge institutions.

Esther was personally shown the Tottenham Stadium by Mark Lekkie, Chief Executive of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation

Esther would also visit burgeoning HiH partner, the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and meet its Chief Executive, Mark Leckie. Asking Leckie about what motivates him, the two would discuss how their passion for local communities stems from their personal stories. The visit would end with an impromptu all-access tour of the £1bn Football and NFL-ready stadium, including a pitch-side view ahead of the final games of the 23/24 season.

However, it would be two visits to City University that would be the driving force behind the Founder and CEO’s visit; with HiH approaching City to be the next venue for HASP’s Educational Symposium.

Finding common ground in their shared interest in developing young people, Hope in Haringey successfully saw City University commit to hosting the 2024 HASP Educational Symposium scheduled for September.

This commitment means the Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre will serve as the symposium’s hub, connecting all eight schools in the partnership for the event.

Esther would also meet the HASP Ambassador to Ghana, Ben Boateng.

Additionally, City University would agree to further youth-focused support. From September, City will commit to the running of ‘Independent Thinking’ workshops with the HASP Partner schools. This will see the 130-year-old university assist learners transition into Higher education and the independent learning style it requires. The aim is that this support will see a reduction in people from underprivileged backgrounds dropping out of higher education.

City University’s Associate Dean of Research and Professor of International Politics, Inderjeet Palmer commented on what was an “Excellent meeting”, saying it was “really fruitful and inspiring to discuss the possible collaborations and to hear about the massive difference [HiH] are making in the community and in the schools.”

Hope in Haringey would like to thank Esther for her time spent with us and for her contagious approach to learning that would see young people benefitted at every level and ability.