Community is one of our four core values. Our belief is that St. Michael's should be at the heart of the local community. Schools should help shape young people, and young minds, so they can move forward and make a difference on their doorstep and beyond. A successful local community needs a lot of things. But one of those is a successful school.
Handsworth is our community. It is a community that we are immensely proud to be part of.
Post-World War Two, Migrants from across the Commonwealth, invited to relocate to Britain to contribute to the war effort and the post-war rebuilding programme, settled in Handsworth in the 1940s and 1950s, finding a well-to-do suburb with large villas and an attractive park. Families from the Caribbean and South Asia took their place in this multi-cultural community during the ensuing decades, drawn by manufacturing work in Birmingham’s foundries and car plants.
By the 1970s, though, local industry was in decline and work was drying up. As unemployment rose, the community of Handsworth became a byword for inner-city decline. At times, even to this day, it has been difficult to shake off this reputation.
However, it is an impression that we are determined to challenge. Handsworth is rich in cultural activity; it is a place of shared identity and a common purpose. It is a place where people from across the world have come to call home. It is a place of many faiths, many nationalities, many ethnicities, and many stories.
St. Michael's is a school at the heart of Handsworth. We are proud of our community. We are proud to be from Handsworth.
The above images were taken in 1979 by Derek Bishton, Brian Homer and John Reardon after they established a pop-up outdoor photography studio in Handsworth where people could take their own pictures. Titled, 'Handsworth Self-Portraits', a taste of this project, as well as other work from the local photographers, can be seen at St. Michael's as part of our very own photography exhibition.