Hope not hate
St Marylebone School’s anti-racism commitment is one of action, not just words. We understand that for racism to be combated it has to first be acknowledged. We are vigilant to the fact that some ethnic groups have experiences of racism that we must actively and consciously engage with, so that we are not complicit in structural and institutional racism. We aim to provide opportunities for our students and staff to identify behaviours and barriers which stand in the way of racial equality. We aim to provide an enriching education which values the views and cultures of our ethnically and racially diverse community. We are also aware that anti-racism is as much about consciously acknowledging and reflecting as it is actively celebrating.
We do not pretend that there is a quick fix to ending racism. We are taking an active, reflective, informed and collaborative approach, with a view to effecting long-lasting, long-term change. Our learning engages students and staff in deep self-reflection, informed discussion, review of curriculum and policy, training and behaviour change.
Some of the actions we are taking include:
- A year-long course for the Senior Leadership Team on Race and Identity which challenges participants to consider the experiences and biases which form our identities and understanding of race, to help achieve clear and informed priorities for addressing race and racism at a whole-school level.
- The appointments of a Deputy Head Girl leader on diversity and the appointment of student Diversity Ambassadors, who are consulted on all our work on diversity.
- Articles by students and staff on artists, writers and musicians from under-represented groups, published in the Bulletin, NewsTues and the Student Channel
- Ongoing training for all staff including student voice, how to address race and racism in PSHE and in the curriculum.
- Adopting the Halo Code. This means that we champion the right of staff and students to embrace all Afro-hairstyles. We acknowledge that Afro-textured hair is an important part of our staff and students’ racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious identities.
- Unconscious bias training from Professor Paul Miller for all staff.
- Ongoing review of curriculum and the way this is taught.
- Governance: unconscious bias training for all Governors, also from Professor Paul Miller, and a focus in each Governors’ Committee on how to monitor and promote the School’s anti-racist work.
- PSHE for students on anti-racism, micro-aggressions and how to make a positive contribution to this important debate.
- Coverage of issues of race and equality in Thought for the Day, assemblies, NewsTues and SMSpeaks, engaging staff and student voice
- Making changes to our recruitment materials and processes, to try to limit the effect of biases.
- Engaging families through the work we are doing with the Race and Equality Foundation.
We must never be complacent about addressing issues of racial inequality and discrimination. It requires active, collaborative engagement and listening. We are aware that language is in a constant process of evolution and we remain committed to our policies being open to adaptation where necessary. As a school, we are proud to 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.