Lemuel Findlay Supplementary School (formerly named Y-Wise) was founded in 1974. It was launched after a weekend conference attended by a group of fifty six West Indian Sixth Form Students. This was organised by concerned parents and teachers. They were concerned about the decline in academic achievement amongst black students in the local borough of Haringey. The project was named Y-Wise (Young West Indian Self Effort).
The founding members
These founding members included Mr Martin Bart, former head of Lordship Lane Junior School and Mr Lemuel Findlay, Community Worker and organiser of the Caribbean Senior Citizens Association. They recognised that many factors contributed to the state of affairs at the time and decided that Black students needed a more understanding school environment, staffed by Black teachers and other professionals. Besides being positive role models, the shared cultural perspective would lead to better understanding and confidence building which is conducive to the educational process. The school’s main aim was to ensure that students were equipped with the basic skills in Mathematics and English Language to enable them to access the curriculum in their mainstream schools. Throughout the early years, attention remained focused almost exclusively on Maths and English and both students and parents were pleased with their progress.
A new name
The late Mr Lemuel Findlay, community worker and organiser of the African Caribbean Senior Citizens Association, was one of the key contributors to the discussions and was subsequently very involved in the life of the Supplementary School. In acknowledgement of his contribution, the school became known as Lemuel Findlay Supplementary School after he died.
Under its former name Y-Wise, LFSS held its first classes at West Green Community Centre. Due to demand for more space, classes were moved to premises at Somerset Lower School, Lordship Lane, where it remained for over 8 years. When the Haringey Council decided to demolish the site, LFSS was temporarily accommodated at Earlsmead Community Centre then more recently relocated to the College of North East London (CONEL), where classes are currently held. The work of the school was continued by Eric Grant and Carl Johnson.
LFSS in 2016
The school has now been established for over forty years providing additional help and to support primarily Black children and families from the local boroughs. The school has been able to negotiate access to CONEL’s IT facilities during our Saturday Classes since 1995. Qualified teachers provide tuition in the main National Curriculum subjects – English, Maths, Science and IT. Working with individual students and small groups, they also assist with homework and preparation for SATs. LFSS also addresses personal and social development by encouraging students to participate in social and cultural events which we arrange mainly during Black History Month in October and Kwaanza and Christmas in December. Our Annual Awards Ceremony takes place at the end of the academic year.
LFSS provides positive Black role models and mentors. We aim to raise the student’s level of achievement, build self confidence and peer support and encourage students to realise their full potential. We organise workshops to promote this.