London Living Wage Day

We held London Living Wage Day at school on Friday 7th November to celebrate the new whole-school initiative that pledges to pay all of our staff a minimum wage of £9.15 per hour.

It was, as ever, a busy action day! In the morning, Sophie Stephens from Citizens UK and Caroline Reilly from the Living Wage Foundation spoke to an assembly of students about how the scheme benefits communities.  In the afternoon we passed the torch onto another local business; Wembley Stadium and the Football Association.

Our campaign to ‘Get the Ball Rolling’ took 60 students, along with Miss Haslam, our Citizenship vice principal, and Paul Amuzie, Brent Organiser for North London Citizens, on a walk to the stadium where we delivered a scrapbook full of reasons about ‘Why we think the Living Wage is important.’ We hope that Wembley Stadium and the FA will read our thoughts and agree to meet us to discuss taking a leading role in this campaign, and offering the Living Wage to all their employees.

A Year 9 student explained what paying the living wage means to her: “It is important so that people can get enough money for food and travelling. Like me, my family is separated so me and my Dad have to take at least two trains and a bus just to see my Aunt. Also, we need food for that long journey which costs over £10.”

One Year 11 student summed it up as: ‘It lets people live happier and healthier lives.’

Another perceptive Year 9 boy said: ‘Employees will be able to provide themselves with the basic necessities to live and to adequately sustain themselves. Without the living wage lives of workers are being put at risk as they may have to put bills first before their vital needs like food.’

The initiative pledges to pay all workers a minimum wage of £9.15 per hour. This is significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.50 and will help to ensure that all of our staff can live in London without struggling to meet their financial obligations, such as living expenses.

The Living Wage will see everyone working at Ark Academy, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors and suppliers, paid this amount.

Our Principal Delia Smith said: “Our school motto is Civitas and I would ask ‘How can you show true citizenship if you don’t support the London Living Wage?’ All of our staff are very important to us and the Living Wage confirms our commitment to them and our community.”

Right: Caroline Reilly from the Living Wage Foundation and Principal Delia Smith with the Living Wage Mug.

We will also receive an accreditation plaque to display with pride in the reception of the Academy.

Living Wage Foundation Director, Rhys Moore said: “We are delighted to welcome Ark Academy to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer.

“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.”