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Head’s blog

We all have a role to play

In our Monday Assembly this week, I addressed an issue that has played out on our television screens and on social media across the globe over the past three weeks. I am of course talking about the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Since the killing of George Floyd, a 46 year-old black man, on May 25 in Minneapolis by a white police officer, there have been protests and demonstrations in over 75 US cities against police brutality, their lack of accountability and institutional racism. These protests have now spread across the world not only to show solidarity with the American protestors but also to spotlight the inherent racism still present not just in the US but all over the world.

This piercing cry for justice in all areas of life – judicial systems, employment structures and educations systems – to ensure greater equality and opportunity in our world made me stop and re-evaluate what my role as headteacher has in all of this. It is not enough to be outraged and words are easily forgotten.

Pupils need to know more about world history and understand the links to what has happened now with what happened in the past.

We need to be bold and unafraid to start dialogues around discrimination: how to be aware of it and then eliminate it. Racism needs to be called out, wherever it exists and in whatever form it is found.

Everyone has a responsibility to stamp out racism and my responsibility, as headteacher, is to ensure:

  • pupils understand what racism is and how it affects others;
  • pupils know how to report it (and feel safe and heard when they do so);
  • pupils understand that moral integrity means standing up for what you believe in and that silence can be complicity.

I want us to have conversations that challenge negative stereotypes wherever they appear – in the news, in people’s comments, in images and the insidious messages that lack of representation perpetrates.

We will learn about our unconscious bias and why it matters to check these and have uncomfortable conversations. We will have these conversations in tutorials, in lessons, with our teachers and with our classmates. We all have a role to play in stamping out racism.