A Keane launch for Amnesty's education

Sometimes it’s good to get out of the office and visit the real world. And yesterday that meant a trip to Harris City Academy Crystal Palace in South London for the launch of Amnesty’s new education pack.

The pack, entitled A Matter of Life And Death, is targeted at Key Stage 4 pupils (14 to 16 year olds for those of us who work in old money) and concentrates on the death penalty.

As an ex-teacher I could quickly see that it’s a bit of a Godsend. It’s got two lesson plans, an assembly and a whole load of other advice and links – the sort of thing that makes teaching easier.

Now as it happens I wasn’t the only ex-teacher that made the trip from Amnesty HQ on the new overground train to Crystal Palace. There was Lisa Buddin and Helen Trivers from our education and student team, and also Richard Hughes.

Richard is the drummer for the band Keane. But what I suspect you didn’t know is that he is also a qualified Geography teacher.

He was a supply teacher in a range of places across London and admittedly we did share a few horror stories of pupils dancing on the tables.

Now celebs can sometimes get a bit of stick for their tokenistic nature, but Richard Hughes, like J K Rowling, is in a total different ball park.

As mentioned on these pages before, Richard is a campaigner against the death penalty and has worked relentlessly on the case of Troy Davis.

I have dealt with a few celebs in my time – and I can honestly say that few have ever come close to the dedication to the cause that Richard has shown.

Here’s a guy that has played in front of crowds of thousands, has travelled the world and spoken live to television audiences of tens of millions. And he took time out of his diary to address a class of 25 South Londoners.

As Richard re-told his experiences of visiting Troy on death row – the size of Troy’s cell, the fact that his eyesight was failing because his internment means there is nothing for his eyes to focus on beyond a few feet, and the tale of when Troy felt grass under his feet for the first time in over 10 years – you could see how engrossed the class were (if only teaching was always like this).

For me it was a truly worthwhile event and showed again exactly why I joined Amnesty.

Working with the school, we did a little bit of media around the event – and it was live on Music News before we had even left. The two leading teaching publications SecEd and TES were among those that asked for the pictures.

However, the biggest plug for the day came from Richard Hughes himself, who was constantly tapping away on his phone updating his 3,000 followers on Twitter.

Now that’s proper rock ‘n’ roll.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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