Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Anti-Racist Strategy 12 months on from our 9 July 2020 promise
Last year, on 9 July 2020, in response to the growing voice of ‘Black Lives Matter’, we issued a statement to explain our stance on racism and our attitude to it.
We boldly claimed:
- We want people to know that we will not tolerate racism and we will not accept ignorance or prejudice.
- We are aware of the vital role that schools can play in dismantling systemic racism.
- We pledge to work together to drive change so that we can better equip our children and staff with the knowledge they need to understand, recognise and address complex social issues, including racism.
In order to achieve this, we pledged to do the following:
- Set up a new Working Group, consisting of staff, children, parents and governors, to respond to these issues and make proposals for action.
- Adapt our curriculum to ensure a deeper understanding and knowledge of the roots of racism and to scrutinise all aspects of school life including staffing, administration and leadership.
- Provide additional diversity training for staff as well as encourage all children in our Trust to talk to us about their anxieties and their concerns and, importantly, their proposed solutions.
- We also stated that that we are determined that we seize this moment as a catalyst for real and sustained change for the better and that we understood that empty promises and words alone will not result in any permanent change.
We have not stood still and want to summarise the key areas of our work. So, what have we actually done?
To review our work and ensure we can make progress, we have created a Strategic Working Group that has met several times throughout the year. That has been led by an independent, black chair and funded by Annabel Nicoll our Sponsor. As a result of these strategic meetings we have:
- Established a Diversity Committee in each school to support leaders in developing strategies.
- Commenced the process to review and adapt the curriculum in each school so that it is more diverse
- Spoken to many of our young people to better understand their views on diversity within our schools how they feel and held parent forums.
- Appointed new Trustees and Governors to help reflect our community. Our terms of reference for Trust and Governor meetings have been amended to allow a greater focus on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.
- Analysed our staffing demography with a view to consider how our recruitment processes can be improved to better reflect representation in all of our roles across the Trust, including how we harness the talent and skills of our black staff.
- Reviewed and amended our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and our Equality Objectives are on each website. These clearly set the objectives for each of our schools.
- All 3 schools have audited their practise against an anti-racist framework to better understand next steps overall.
- TLHP & TLAP have applied to complete the RACE (Race and Conscious Equality) Charter Mark.This takes approximately 6-9 months to submit.A certificate is received once completed, Bronze, Silver or Gold.
- Trained our staff, Governors and Trustees on unconscious bias. Some staff have received training through the ‘Black Curriculum’. Curriculum leaders, Senior Leaders, Governors and Trustees will receive training as part of the RACE Charter Mark work.
- Created an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion improvement plan which we will work to next year. This will broaden our work to focus on all 9 Protected Characteristics and not just race. This will be monitored by the Strategic Working Group who will continue to meet termly to review progress.
Whilst we recognise there is still more work to do, the actions taken so far demonstrates our commitment to action and improvement in relation to race equality in all aspects of our work, as educators, employers and community leaders. We accept that it is unlikely that any school will be truly free of racist behaviour and we will need to continue to address the unconscious biases within our community. There are no grounds for complacency. We know that we must teach about racism but that more than this, an understanding of racism and its history must be in the DNA of our schools, who we are, what we do and how we do it. To achieve this our curriculum and discussions must reflect the many significant contributions of black and other minority ethnic cultures to our society. Through education, we can diminish the ignorance of racism and prejudice in its many forms.
We will not be tokenistic and will strive to embed best practice within our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda. We know we need an open dialogue to accomplish our aims, therefore the conversations must continue between staff, parents/carers and leaders. Moreover, we will continue to talk to our young people as we want to ensure that they are confident enough to speak out and to be heard.
We recognise the importance of our work and look forward to updating you on our progress. If you have any suggestions on how to promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, please do not hesitate to contact either myself or the appropriate headteacher in our Trust.
The Aribib Education Trust