The senseless killing of George Floyd and the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the BAME community has brought to the fore the fact that forms of conscious or unconscious racial bias, discrimination and inequality are prevalent throughout society, in its institutions and individuals. It is important that we recognise this and take what steps we can to address them at CLSG.
One of the things that struck me so strongly as a new Head coming into CLSG this year was the warmth, respect and kindness of our pupils to each other. As you know, respect (as the first of our 3 R values) is fundamental to our community. Our school puts a very high value on seeking to appreciate and understand difference and the immeasurable richness and strength that social, sexual, religious, neuro and ethnic diversity brings to our school. But we do not get everything right and I recognise that there is still much we could do.
Some pupils and alumnae have written to me and other senior staff to ask us to examine our curriculum and systems to ensure that we are inculcating a fully anti-racist culture. I am grateful for their considered and detailed suggestions. In order to fully capture the thoughts and feelings of our whole community, our Deputy Head Pastoral, Mrs Gilham and the pastoral team are currently working with pupils to create a survey to gauge their thoughts and feelings and experiences of racism. There will also be opportunities to hear directly from pupils through some virtual Open Door meetings, tutor meetings and PSHEE sessions. These will allow us to discuss together ways in which we can build what we want to see in our school.
Our detailed action plan following this will depend on the findings of our consultations with pupils and staff. In advance of that we have convened a research and action group to consider what steps we might take around for instance our curriculum, extra-curricular programme, our staff and governor recruitment and training and pupil well-being.
Education plays a key role in building racial equality and creating equal opportunities for black voices and perspectives. It is a serious and sacred responsibility. We are committed to making sure that CLSG looks squarely at what we are doing well and what we still need to do to ensure that we address this effectively.
We are very grateful to you for your support as we tackle this vital work together.