Coaching & Leadership Development
Becoming an Anti-Racist School – A Governor’s Story

Becoming an Anti-Racist School – A Governor’s Story

This story comes from Chair of Governors of Ursuline High School, Claire Thorogood   Like many people, I felt a mix of horror and outrage at the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. But this time, it didn’t feel enough.   It really brought home to me and to many, that racism isn’t just an issue in the States, systemic racism is alive and well and thriving in the UK. I think previously the UK has always let itself off the hook by being like, “well, we’re not as racist as America, we’re a multicultural society” but the events of last year showed that racism is part and parcel of the lived experience of people of colour here.   Particularly, as I’m also a chair of governors of a large girls’ comprehensive school with large number of students of colour, the personal impact, and the extra weight of responsibility I felt was striking. It made me realise that if this has impacted so much on me as a white person, then what are the students of colour in our school feeling? If I feel that horror and outrage, what must they be feeling?’   As a school, it made us realise that we could no longer pretend that racism happens out there, but not within our school gates.   Taking a Stand   So, like other schools across the country, we decided to undertake wholesale work to try and address these issues on racial justice in our own context. As part of this, there was a review of the curriculum, uniforms, staff training and policies amongst other things....
“It Starts with You” – How to Tackle Racism in Schools

“It Starts with You” – How to Tackle Racism in Schools

  This Headteacher story comes from Headteacher of Frensham Heights School, Rick Clarke   Like most schools and organisations across the UK and beyond, myself and our school community were very much affected George Floyd’s death in 2020, the resulting Black Lives Matter movement and the whole worldwide condemnation of the events that took place.   Like many schools, the events led us to re-examine what was happening in society, what we were doing, and how we were relating to each other.   As a school, we’d always said that we absolutely don’t tolerate racism and I’d like to think that openness and transparency and generosity, are in many ways some of the defining features of our school. Yet demographically, as a school, we are overwhelmingly white, we only have a handful of students of colour and just one staff member who’s mixed race.   Looking back now, I would say we probably also hadn’t always approached race, in the most honest way, despite of our culture of openness.   But after George Floyd’s death, when the discussion about how organisations should respond become more pronounced that changed. We almost immediately started having a lot of conversations, engaging with our students and with our parents about these issues, who asked us a number of questions such as:   How’s the school going to respond? What are you going to do about this? What’s your position on race? How we began to chart a way forward   There were some calls for us to examine what we teach and why. In particular, there was a very conflicted debate around some...