Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
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 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 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
Anti-Racist Strategy - Response to Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter response
As a Trust, we respond to issues faced by society today and we influence and support thousands of children and students on a daily basis. We hold as self-evident the truth that black lives matter. 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. As a community, we can reflect on the progress that has been made but, more importantly, know that there is still much to do. We are fortunate to be part of such a diverse community in Slough and we commit to doing all that we can to promote fairness and equality. Therefore, 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.
Over the last few weeks and at our most recent Trust meeting, the Trustees and senior teams in The Arbib Education Trust have been reflecting on the shocking and horrific death of George Floyd and the subsequent global response. We have specifically focussed on how we can play a positive role going forward. A new Working Group, consisting of staff, children, parents and governors, is being established to respond to these issues and make proposals for action. It will report to the Trust’s Executive Principal, Rhodri Bryant, who will also attend.
We have a great deal of flexibility to adapt our curriculum material, including within the subjects of History, Geography, and Personal, Social, Citizenship and Health Education (PSCHE). Among the tasks of the Working Group will be to examine robustly the curricula across the Trust, to enable a deeper understanding and knowledge of the roots of racism, and to scrutinise all aspects of school life including staffing, administration and leadership. We largely follow the National Curriculum and acknowledge that exam boards indicate much of the school curriculum. Meaningful reform will also stem from the government so we look forward to understanding how the government will develop this in the coming months.
The Arbib Education Trust recognises that ongoing learning is required for us all and that more needs to be done. We want our children and students to be aware of inequality, to understand its causes and effects and to be committed to doing something about it. This is not a matter that we have suddenly begun to address, but the appalling events in the USA and the surge of global outrage are a powerful reminder of the need for action, particularly when it highlights the challenges within our own community. We will 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. Progress has been made, but more is needed. It is unlikely that any school will be truly free of racist behaviour and we will need 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 the schools, who we are, what we do and how we do it.
Below are some examples from the current work of our 3 schools:
The Langley Academy Primary
The school has a Discovery Day each year to explore themes of diversity. In 2020 the school learned about respect, difference and individuality, including sessions led by a black author and a performance poetry workshop which reflected this theme. Within the curriculum deliberate choices are made to teach children about influential black lives. Children learn about Mary Seacole, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Stevie Wonder. In Year Three they study the Civil Rights Movement and Rosa Parks. School displays and resources reflect the diversity of the school; in Free flow, children play with a range of world foods, non-white dolls and babies; ‘Key Texts’ are chosen with a range of characters and races, for example black ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and Handa’s Surprise.
The Langley Heritage Primary
The school actively discuss issues around racism and prejudice with children and within the staff group and challenge racism in a multitude of ways. The school is proud of their deeprooted inclusive practice. The curriculum, including PHSCE, more directly covers and includes representations of people who look different from each other and allows them to unpick some inbuilt and sometimes unknown biases we hold about other people. Aik Saath, a local charity, has delivered training for staff and worked with year groups to challenge and support them in rethinking their unconscious bias. Over the last few weeks they have been working on discussing the issues, in an age appropriate way, about what has been happening across the world and asked the children to complete an individual profile of someone who is influential. They have additionally sent a support information booklet out to parents to assist them in discussing challenging issues around this, with their children.
The Langley Academy
The school endeavours to develop a curriculum that reflects the diversity of the Academy community and encourages their students to understand and question their place in the world. As well as subject specific content, race, and specifically black lives, are explored in the wider curriculum through PSHE, Museum Learning and assemblies. Through their culture and systems, including the House system and Behaviour Policy, we challenge racism at every opportunity.
The Arbib Education Trust is founded on principles of equality and inclusivity and we will work exceptionally hard to ensure that our practice recognises this. We are determined that we seize this moment as a catalyst for real and sustained change for the better and that we understand that empty promises and words alone will not result in any permanent change.