24 children from St John’s CE Primary School, Sparkhill, Birmingham had their aspirations lifted high as they spent the day visiting Clarence House, the home of Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. They met a whole variety of different people doing all sorts of different jobs, from accountants to the chefs, from the under butler to the human resources department, from the correspondence secretary to the Equerry, from the gardener to The Duchess herself, who spent time talking to the children. ‘I couldn’t believe we were actually going to meet her’ said one child, ‘she was very kind, and asked us what we had been doing,’ ‘we asked her some questions too,’ another added, ‘her house is amazing and so many people work here!’ the Royal Household arranged a whole series of engaging presentations explaining all the different roles that were carried out in the house hold.
The school has been working in partnership with a national organisation, Mosaic, one of The Prince of Wales’ charities. Mosaic works with schools to raise the aspirations of young people, particularly in Muslim Communities. Sumi Mistry, project leader at St John’s commented ‘many of our girls’ mothers had not had the chance to go to university themselves, through this project they have been excited to see the opportunities that are available for their daughters, and want to help them achieve those ambitions.’
His Royal Highness, as founder of the charity, invited Mosaic to recommend a school to visit his home, Clarence House. Sarah Smith, Executive Head teacher at St John’s said ‘We were delighted to be given the opportunity to visit Clarence House, the children were fascinated to find out about all the different jobs that people do in the Royal Household, many that they didn’t even know existed. Assiya Ahsan (aged 10) said she wanted to send off for a job pack straight away!’
‘The children had a whole host of questions to ask, ranging from what qualifications you needed to do a particular post, to how often do you meet famous people.’
Mrs Smith commented ‘the staff at Clarence House went the extra mile for our children, nothing was too much trouble for them. They had arranged short presentations and activities for the children to join in with, as well as answering endless questions about life working for the royal household.’
She added ‘the children were genuinely interested and fascinated by life at Clarence House, the staff were very knowledgeable and extremely patient with us all’
The day itself was one exciting adventure, from the moment we boarded the train at Birmingham New Street. The journey was followed by a mini tour of major London landmarks. ‘many of our children had never been on a train, or visited London’ ‘wow!!’ was the word we heard recurring through the course of the day. Surprises kept on coming, including a ‘pop in’ by Barbara Windsor who was visiting Clarence House, and a thoughtful ‘Goodie bag at the end for both staff and children.’ A truly memorable occasion for everyone.
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