Creating a multicultural society opposed to any form of prejudice
Posted On: 23/06/20
Colchester Royal Grammar School is opposed to all forms of prejudice and is supportive of the stance taken by the recent Black Lives Matter campaign. The recent anonymous Twitter campaign however, which targeted many schools across the country and contained significant mis-information about CRGS, has not been beneficial to our work and is in danger of creating a backward step, where people with protected characteristics become more reluctant to come forward and report prejudicial acts.
Actions speak louder than words and in recent years we have done much to challenge prejudice. Our work on Equalities has been, and remains, a key feature of the School Improvement Plan. This is not to say that we are a school free from racist incidents or discriminatory attitudes, and we accept that there will always be much work to do to improve our environment and the promotion of equality and diversity within the school. This is also not to deny that racist or prejudicial acts have occurred in the past. However, I can say with certainty that all reported incidents have been investigated during my tenure: reported allegations of discrimination, in any form, have always been and will always be investigated and dealt with as serious offences, in line with our school Code of Conduct.
The school aims to tackle all unacceptable attitudes in a real way, rather than through any superficial acts, and have planned student engagement and staff training on this in the coming school year. Indeed, this work has already started as both I and Mr Chart-Boyles have met with student representatives to listen to their views, their experiences and their ideas for how we move our community forward. This will go alongside our aims to achieve awards for our LGBT+ work (we are hoping to achieve a Bronze Award for the progress we have made and should find out in December if we have been successful) and our planned work on gender equality. To support this latter work we have joined the London equality programme “Gender Action”. Such programmes provide a good framework through which we can develop our work, measure our successes, and identify what training and support we need with these issues. We will, of course, be looking at other areas such as anti-Islamic behaviour and consider how we can create a truly inclusive multicultural atmosphere in which all students feel able to be themselves and feel able to report and challenge prejudice.
Our forthcoming work that is currently in the School Improvement Plan includes:
1. Engaging with student groups who represent those with protected characteristics.
2. Staff training (currently scheduled for January 2021): The development of a united approach to equality and diversity in the classroom.
3. Developing a senior student group to support the reporting and challenging of prejudicial comments or acts, working with the newly-formed staff Equality & Diversity Group.
4. Code of Conduct student and staff consultation: Developing a united approach to unintentional racism, repeated unintentional racism and deliberate racism. Using what we learn from this consultation to develop a consistent approach to tackling all forms of discrimination.
5. Tackling racial insensitivity: The development of an anti-racist staff Code of Conduct.
6. Teaching 1: Developing an understanding of coded language and micro-aggressions.
7. Teaching 2: Review and development of the CRGS curriculum – teaching to tackle prejudice.
We hope our school community recognises not only the work we have already done to promote equality and diversity at CRGS but also the breadth and depth of our ambitions for developing this work further than the school has ever done before. This will be an ongoing, ever-evolving plan that we hope will have a positive, lasting impact on all members of our school community. If any student from the alumni or parent feels that they can support us in this work, we would be grateful to hear from you.