St Marylebone School’s anti-racism commitment is one of action, not just words. We want our students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to have an excellent experience of education, which values them, their culture and history, recognises the challenges particular to being BAME and enables them to overcome these. We recognise that addressing issues of racial inequality and discrimination is never something to be complacent about. As a school, we play a vital role in calling out racial discrimination and prejudice and in educating our community in the social, political, historical contexts which affect this. Over the coming year we have plans for this action to engage students and staff in deep self-reflection, informed discussion, review of curriculum and policy, training and behaviour change. Below we have published just some of the action taken by students and staff this summer term.
Student essays published in the school bulletin
Charlotte in Year 13 has written a piece entitled, ‘Why is talking about race still an issue?’ as a response to the events surrounding the death of George Floyd. It is a particularly clear, thoughtful and powerful reflection, and its messages about education and conversation are well-articulated. This was published in the school bulletin on 5th June 2020. You can read her essay here.
Anu in Year 11 has written a powerful personal essay about the problem of colourism in society entitled, ‘Why is lighter regarded as better?’. She explores the roots of the issue, her views, and offers some suggestions for how to tackle the problem. Anu has worked incredibly hard to write such a sensitive and thought-provoking essay which is informative, well-researched and pertinent. This was published in the school bulletin on 12th June 2020. You can read her essay here.
St. Marylebone ‘Hope not Hatred’ Interview Series
To inform our perspectives, Year 11 students are beginning a series of interviews with leading thinkers with a view on the Black Lives Matter campaign.
In the first of these, Kezia, Anu and Isabelle interview Mark Winston Griffith, a social and political thinker, policy-influencer, broadcaster and Director of Brooklyn Movement Centre.
6/7/20 Assembly: Participation; BLM and how to participate in anti-racism.
Here students explain the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and share their thoughts on how we can all participate in anti-racism work.
With thanks to Natasha (Y7), Patricia (Y7), Philippine (Y9), Leyya (Y9), Madison (Y9), Kenya’h (Y11), Miss Harrison-Beesley, Ms Free, Miss Dunworth, Ms Active, Miss Cooper and Ms Sainsbury.
This incredible piece of artwork was created by Madison (9N) as part of her Independent Project for Year 9 Award
Library bulletins on race and racism
Following the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing events in the US and across the world it has become abundantly clear that serious work needs to be done within our communities to address racism. That there is racism in the UK is of course not news, but recent events have created an imperative for action. It is time for all of us to become accountable for our words and actions, and explore ways of working together for meaningful change.
In view of this Ms Free, School librarian, has put together a series of bulletins that will provide the tools to understand the history of race and racism, the current realities of racism in the UK today, and how we are able to begin to address this. You can find these bulletins below.
This History Society talk by Miss Harrison Beesley focuses on some of the untold stories of the black British narrative across History. It is based around the themes of Ancient Britons, Rebellious Britons and Pioneering Britons. The talk looks at many different questions: what do we mean by the term ‘untold stories’? How long has there been a black British presence? What examples are there of this? Why are these untold stories often overlooked? Why is it so important to know this History?
There are links to further watching, listening and reading on the final slides, if you want to push yourself further and find out more untold stories. There is also the opportunity to engage with a national competition.
This History Society talk by Mr Colenutt focuses on the Kingdom of Mali ‘An Empire of Faith and Gold’. Mali was one of the great empires of the Medieval world, reaching its zenith in the 14th century. The talk engages with the amazing story of Mansa Musa, famously depicted in the Catalan Atlas and allegedly the richest person to have ever lived! It also looks at the architecture of Mali, the Trans-Saharan trade networks and the importance of oral traditions. The slides have links to further reading, listening and viewing.
The History Department has spent a lot of time in lockdown re-thinking and re-developing our curriculum, with a greater focus on global history, connections, interactions and fully-incorporating Black British History, beyond what we already do. This includes a Year 7 enquiry on the Empire of Mali (‘What can we learn about the Empire of Mali from what has been left behind?’), global Medieval History (including the Silk Roads and the Islamic world), the History of Early Modern West African Kingdoms in Year 8, and the long-term legacies of slavery. This will reinforce and support our current Empire, Black and British, Migration and Holocaust enquiries. We are committed to creating a rich, diverse, representative, and rigorous curriculum based on Historical scholarship. We are really excited by what our Key Stage 3 will look like next year and beyond!
Staff resource review
St. Marylebone teachers have been busy reading, watching, and listening to lots of insightful material in order to educate themselves more on race and racism. If you would also like to learn more and educate yourself, but are unsure where to begin, have a look at these five-star reviews. These were published in the school bulletin in June and July and are a great place to start!
A Guide to Black Lives Matter for Parents and Carers
This resource is designed for parents and carers, to support them in starting conversations about race with their families. If you’d like some ideas for how to approach this topic with young people do have a look.