Lenny Henry: Red Nose Day could help 300,000 children into school

red nose day, comic relief

Comedian Lenny Henry is calling on UK schools to raise the money needed to help more than 300,000 children across Africa into education.

Writing in today’sTES to mark Red Nose Day, Mr Henry said the mission would “truly transform lives”.

He said the UK government had agreed to double the money that schools raised for Red Nose Day this year. In previous years, schools had made an “incredible contribution” to Red Nose Day, he said, raising more than £9 million in 2013 alone through “cake sales, dress-up days, sponsored events and simply having a laugh”.

Mr Henry said his own experience of school had been a “mixed bag”.

“That magical moment you see in the movies where the inspirational teacher presses a metaphorical button and suddenly you’re flying through lessons never happened for me. I stayed a bit foggy, a bit lost, in most of my classes,” he writes.

“Having failed my 11-plus, I wasn’t encouraged to do O-levels or go to university. I was told that if I didn’t work hard I’d end up in a factory, but I worked reasonably hard and wound up in a factory anyway, just like my parents. It felt like we were pushing against a closed door.

“Young people like me needed more mentoring and encouragement from everyone involved.”

To read the full story, get the 13 March edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

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