Young people at a Shirebrook school have elected a Polish student as their new head boy.
Jakub Klosowicz, 15, only arrived at Shirebrook Academy two years ago and couldn’t speak English.
But the Year 10 pupil, who beat off strong competition from other students for the role, now speaks excellent English, as well as French and Spanish.
The news comes after more than 70 per cent of Shirebrook residents voted Brexit in last month’s EU Referendum.
Student Kirsty Bradbury, also 15, was elected head girl at the school, which now has around 40 Polish students on roll.
Shirebrook principal Mark Cottingham said: “Jakub is very popular with staff and students alike, always has a smile on his face and an infectious enthusiasm for learning.
“Given the result of the referendum and the large leave vote in Shirebrook, and the well-publicised tensions in the community over the scale of EU migration into the town, Jakub’s election gives us all hope that our young people can forge a cohesive multicultural society where people are judged by the quality of their character and their actions, not by their nationality.
“Jakub’s story is quite remarkable. He came to England just two years ago with no English and is now one of our top academic performers as well as being an accomplished musician and composer and budding actor – his ambition is to be in Hollywood.
“Both Jakub and Kirsty embody our values of being hardworking, having a growth mind set, showing determination and resilience to overcome barriers and showing compassion and integrity. This makes them great models.”
Shirebrook has seen a significant increase in Eastern European migrants in recent years, partly due to Sports Direct’s main distribution hub being based in the town.
Mr Cottingham added that, while students at the academy also voted overwhelmingly for Brexit in the school’s own mock-referendum, young people at the school have been welcoming to Polish students.
“Despite the strength of feeling in the local community, there is a strong sense amongst the students that it is not the fault of the kids that they are here,” he said.
“You get the odd incident, but we don’t really have a problem with racism towards the Polish kids. The students appreciate that they could easily be in that position themselves.
“It’s been a big change - three years ago we had no Polish students, but now we have around 40.
“These kids have not asked to come to Shirebrook, so the students judge them as people, not as migrants.”
The roles of head boy and girl involve being ambassadors for the school, representing the student body at events, greeting visitors, and leading the Junior Leadership Team made up of reps from each year group.
About 20 prospective candidates from Year 10 were interviewed by senior staff and a shortlist of four boys and four girls were put forward for election. They had to produce a campaign video that was shown to all students and staff and then voting was held at lunchtime on Friday.
Pictured: Shirebrook Academy Principal Mark Cottingham (top) and Jakub Klosowicz and Kirsty Bradbury.