School policy responses to Black Lives Matter

Advice from schools re racism and Black Lives Matter

We trust that the resources on this website on this topic will be helpful to those looking for idea and approaches for assemblies, chapels, forums and debates within schools of all types.

If you are looking for our Black Lives Matter -Resources blog then please click on the link.

We have been pleased to receive information from two of our member schools – both boarding schools with a sizeable day population, one from central London and one in Wales – regarding the communication they have had with parents and pupils. The first is a letter sent to pupils and the other is a questionnaire, sent to parents. These schools have given permission for us to share their approaches.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

School Policy response – letter to pupils

The policy outlined in this letter is from the Head Master to the pupils. The school has set up a Challenging Racism Committee to promote long term engagement and change. It is made up of two members of their Senior Management Committee, a housemaster, several other staff and a number of pupils.

Dear pupils,

Recent events in the US have been incredibly upsetting and saddening for all of us. They have served to highlight systemic problems of racism and prejudice that persist throughout the world and across organisations. While _________ is committed to combating prejudice in all its forms and wherever it may be found, we recognise that we are no more immune to racism than any other institution and that we must do more and commit to firm action to fight prejudice and actively promote equality.

_____________is a privileged environment. With that privilege comes a duty and we are determined to work with our community to use ______________voice and platform to fight prejudice and hatred in all their forms, through education and through example.

We are very grateful to the many pupils, both past and present, who have already been in touch with us or who have engaged with us on social media. We welcome and actively encourage this dialogue and want to work with our community – pupils, staff, parents and alumni – to do better.

Here are some of the things that we as a School commit to doing in the coming days, weeks and months:

  • Devote tutorial time, both immediately and on an ongoing basis, to resources and discussion exploring the current and wider issues of racism
  • Continue to provide unconscious bias training to all teaching staff and to extend that training to all pupils and support staff
  • Work with pupil leadership groups (Heads of School, School Monitors, Peer Supporters, Year Group Councils) to help us better understand what you want and need from the School and how we can best support you
  • Commit to having hard conversations that will help us to develop our curriculum to promote a culture of reflection, learning and informed action for change
  • Work to improve our admissions and recruitment processes to create a diverse school community that is more reflective of our multi-cultural city and society
  • Seek through our working practices to ensure that every member of staff and every pupil feels supported, respected and valued, and an equal member of our school community
  • Recognise our privileged position and the duty that comes with it to use our platform to combat injustice and equality when and wherever we encounter it

As we move forward, together and constructively, one of the most important things for all of us is constantly to educate ourselves. As a start, on our intranet later today you will find a range of resources to help us all as we work to improve our understanding of these issues and how we can help effect meaningful change.

We want to make our School the very best it can be for everyone. We recognise that this is an ongoing and evolving process and that the actions outlined here are just a start. We want to work together with all of you to make and embed lasting change for good. Let’s make sure this is just the start of the conversation.

Best wishes,

xxx

‘Black Lives Matter’ Conversation

The second school has started its conversation by using the form of a questionnaire. Here below is the preamble and questions they have asked their school community.

In light of current UK and global events it is important for us at ___________ to reflect, learn and grow together. This is a journey without a finite destination – we are always learning. It is a journey we wish to undertake as a community with our students and their families. It is our intention to provide a safe space for conversations without fear of judgement or fear of ‘getting it wrong’. It is okay to not know. It is okay to not have the answers. We are seeking to create a spirit of kindness to ourselves and to each other as we talk through these highly sensitive and emotive issues with honesty and integrity.

To obtain a feel for where we are as a community in our experiences and knowledge, we have a few simple questions.

Responses will be treated with confidence and will be used to steer the school forwards in its journey.

  1. Describe the impact of UK and global ‘Black Lives Matter Movement’ for your family.
  2. Describe the feelings of your son/daughter with regard to the ‘Black Lives Matter Movement’.
  3. What do you perceive to be areas we could develop in supporting our young people to navigate our complex world?
  4. We take the safeguarding of our students extremely seriously and recognise the harm racism inflicts on individuals and communities. Is this an area in which you would be willing to support the school’s development? (YES /NO/MAYBE)
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

other school approaches?

Do you come from a school with another approach you are willing to share? Do email gensec@tisca.org.uk with your ideas, especially if you are willing to share portions of your school’s action plan.

Blog compiled by Alastair Reid (TISCA General Secretary)

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