We are delighted to announce that from 2023, Stamford will become fully co-educational at all stages. For more information, please visit Stamfordcoed.org

Our Response to Racism

Our Response to Racism

Last week, we had to confront the reality of racist behaviour among some members of our community.

It was an incredibly sad moment, and difficult to deal with in many ways. Reading the messages that had been shared, I was upset and tremendously disappointed that students here might hold these views, especially in a school in which we are proud to include international students and their families. I felt extremely sorry for the young woman who spoke out, and she should be proud of her bravery in doing so.

It has become obvious that our current programme, which includes a wide variety of direct and indirect opportunities to learn and to think about diversity, through our PSHE syllabus, lessons, our pastoral programme, and by encouraging students to explore these topics through blogging and debating, has not succeeded in engaging all our students. It is evident that we have not done enough, and I am determined that we will do better.

Over the past few days, we have been speaking to some of our former students, and their parents, whose lives have been affected by racist attitudes. We are extremely grateful to all of them for their help and input.

We realise that there is a difference between mere inclusion of black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals, and true diversity. It is true diversity which we must all – as a school, as individuals, and in our society as a whole – work actively to achieve. This means a change, and a culture shift, in how we educate our pupils about diversity.

And this will be hard, for all of us. Racism is not always overt, and racist actions do not only stem from racist thoughts or racist individuals. We all carry biases within us, and many of us express these biases without even being aware of them. Behaviour that is hurtful and oppressive is all the harder to tackle when it is insidious, or even unconscious – but it is here that the problem lies, and this is what we must tackle together.

This week, we will continue our conversations and meetings with members of our School community to find out more about their experiences here, and help us to plan for the changes that we need to make.

Our programme will be developed over time, but we commit to taking actions which will result in a lasting change in the understanding, attitudes and behaviours of our students, and in creating a community in which all our students and staff can feel secure that they will be treated fairly, inclusively, and without risk of discrimination – not just in terms of race, but in gender, disability and religious belief.

These actions will include:

· Involving past and current students from minority groups in consultation, and listening honestly and unflinchingly to their experiences, so that we can understand what we need to address.

· Training all our staff, and ensuring that proactively tackling discrimination is a priority for all our managers.

· Ensuring that embedding awareness of race and diversity is a priority in every element of our programme: not just in our social and pastoral education, but throughout our academic and co-curricular offering.

· Ensuring that all our students and staff have the tools and the confidence to speak out and challenge racism and discrimination, and know that they will have our full support.

· Working with other schools and organisations to share best practices, to develop resources, and to work together to tackle this challenge.

· Testing the knowledge and understanding of our pupils, so that we can monitor whether our programme is truly effective.

· Recruiting ambassadors from students in leadership positions, and developing training for them so that they can support their peers.

· Work with parents to consolidate these messages, both at home and at school.

· Report on our progress, and assess it honestly.

We recognise that the lives of BAME students are unquestioningly affected by racism, and that affects in turn their educational experiences. We have a duty to ensure that all Stamfordians are part of a fully inclusive and truly diverse society, where everyone feels welcome.

 

Will Phelan

Principal

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