Leeds primary school pays touching tribute to pupil killed in road collision

Yusuf Jatta.
Yusuf Jatta.

A Leeds primary school paid touching tribute to a much-missed youngster as it opened a new outdoor learning area.

Yusuf Jatta, a four-year-old pupil at Hillcrest Academy in Chapeltown, died in a road collision in April last year.

Fathima Ahmed in the stage space of the new learning area.

Fathima Ahmed in the stage space of the new learning area.

Today staff and children at Hillcrest gathered for the official opening of the school’s nursery and reception outdoor learning area.

But, amid the celebrations, there were also thoughts of Yusuf and a life cut tragically short.

A stage space that forms part of the new facility has been dedicated to him, with a plaque saying he “loved to sing and dance” and is “always in our hearts”.

Speaking after the ceremony, which was attended by members of Yusuf’s family, Hillcrest principal Sam Done said: “This is very much a new term with new opportunities for our youngest children, who very much deserve the highest quality resources.

The plaque in memory of Yusuf Jatta.

The plaque in memory of Yusuf Jatta.

“The occasion was very important to us as a school community, as we also remembered Yusuf Jatta with his family.”

The new learning area has been funded by the Gorse Academies Trust, which has Hillcrest as one of its schools.

Doing the honours at today’s opening was Peter Gruen, chair of governors at the school and a Leeds city councillor.

He said: “Opening this new outdoor provision for our youngest children is fantastic.

“It extends the modern and attractive indoor learning environment to the outside.

“This is a £70,000 investment to give multiple opportunities for boys and girls to play and learn together in a safe, happy and stimulating environment.”

As previously reported by the YEP, Yusuf suffered fatal injuries when he was hit by a car outside the Reginald Centre on Chapeltown Road, a short walk from his family’s home on Reginald Mount.

In a statement read to his inquest, his mother, Fatou Bojang, described him as a “lovely son”, adding: “We all miss him greatly.”