We are extremely proud to be supporting Lewisham in their drive to tackle race inequality in Lewisham schools.

Today, we formally signed ‘The Pledge’ on Windrush Day – Tuesday 22 June 2021.

At Conisborough, as you are aware, we are already working on addressing issues and imbalances through our Race Equality Group. I am pleased to say that our students have had their views and feelings listened to and we are making changes in the school to reflect the feedback from them.

Initially a focus group of twenty or so Year 10 students gathered and had a wide-ranging discussion regarding their personal experiences and observations of Racial inequality within the school. From this a leadership group emerged which has named themselves ‘Unity’.

It was clear from their discussions that they wanted their priority for action to be based round education of all members of our Conisborough College Community, staff, students and parents.

Since the initial meeting, immediately after the Easter Holiday, the students have carried out a recruitment drive to find other students in the school who would like to join Unity; they wanted to widen the age and ethnic range of the Unity Group.

The group also marked the commemoration of George Floyd’s murder on 25th May 2021 by organising and planning a whole school event. At the start of lesson 2 on 25th May 2021, every class, student and staff member – teaching and administration – stopped what they were doing and joined a Unity Group ‘Zoom’ meeting. The members of the Unity Group introduced the commemoration of George Floyd and presented the community with stark facts and events addressing racism and why black lives matter. The whole school then collectively reflected on the significance of George Floyd’s murder by joining 7 minutes and 46 seconds of silence.

It was a very moving and important reminder of what we are all setting out to achieve. The whole building ‘stood still’ and was utterly silent.

Last week, a survey that the Unity Group had written to gather experiences, ideas and thoughts from every student in the school, was issued and carried out. They were keen that the survey be carried out on paper, to ensure that every student did respond and are now sorting out the data input of 600 surveys to a spread sheet!

We are working with adults and staff to support the next steps and to be able to use the information gathered to inform and advise on staff training and further development of our Race Equality Strategy for the school.

The most significant aspect from our students has been the need to be able to talk about race and equality and the need for all members of the school to be better educated. This is strongly supported by the Governors who also signed up to the Lewisham Pledge.

We very much look forward to keeping you further updated on the progress the school is making and inviting parents to become involved in this very important area of equality and safety for the whole community. We look forward to signing the pledge on Tuesday and formally supporting and moving forward with Lewisham’s work to tackle race inequalities.

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