More than 200 pupils and ex Kings school students write to head over racial equality at school
Staff at The King’s School will work with pupils after dozens of former students wrote to the school about racial equality.
A total of 242 pupils, ex pupils and parents signed an open letter written to head teacher Darren Ayling and the governing body asking for a number of changes, including a more diverse curriculum, changes to the uniform policy and calling for the establishment of an ethnic minority club.
Mr Ayling said talks would continue to address the subjects raised in the letter.
The letter said: “As former and current pupils of The King’s School, we are well aware of the school’s excellence in regards to providing a high quality education and giving students the resources and opportunities throughout their school life to go on to achieve greatness. Whilst we acknowledge this, it’s important to bring to light several experiences faced by current and former ethnic minority students across the years where they have faced racial inequality and microaggressions from staff and other students. We urge you to read every experience with the utmost understanding that each one should not be allowed to happen again.”
Experiences from pupils raised in the letter include racist name calling, bullying and physical assaults, teachers ignoring racist language, and pupils from ethnic minorities not being given opportunities others in the school were.
The letter calls for seven things to change at the school:
1: Diversify the curriculum
2: Teacher training
3: Disciplinary action to be taken in the case of racist incidents and the establishment of a Code of Conduct
4: Reforming uniform policy
5: The establishment of an ethnic minority club
6: Greater emphasis on Black History Month
7: The establishment of an anonymous online platform
In response to the letter, Mr Ayling said: “The death of George Floyd, the loss of lives subsequently, and the unfolding events in America, the UK and around the world, are a salutary reminder of the ongoing evil of racism in our society. The Black Lives Matter Movement is helping all organisations and institutions to reflect upon the part they have to play in addressing systemic racism and lack of equality and diversity across the BAME community, and helping to create a more tolerant and inclusive world.
“Racism is never acceptable. As a school community, we work hard to be an inclusive, welcoming ‘Family Achieving Excellence’. This means we treasure our diversity across all ethnic groups and religions and try, in all we do, to show a commitment to equality. We have a collective responsibility to show courtesy to each other, to behave respectfully when we disagree and to demonstrate a living commitment to a community in which ignorance and prejudice is never tolerated.
“Yet we recognise that no school or institution is free of racist behaviour, whether unconscious or deliberate, and there are no grounds for complacency.
“Schools have a key role in promoting understanding and in developing children, and young adults, into responsible citizens. As a Church of England school, we give our wholehearted support and commitment to The Church of England Vision for Education (2016) to “offer a safe and welcoming place for all God’s children”. Such a commitment extends to people from all faith traditions as well as to those who have none.
“Our School Council has a responsibility to play a key role in giving all students, of whatever background, a voice. Please contribute your thoughts, experiences and reflections to this group, and so help to ensure that the experience of all students is consistent with our values.”