Equity and Diversity
2020 has forever changed the way we talk about race.
The death of George Floyd in police custody sparked an international wave of protests as people took to the streets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The impact of this was felt with great strength in our city and by many staff and students at the North Bristol Post 16 Centre, who have brought their voices to this cause.
Like most schools in the country, we also received a letter at this time signed by hundreds of our ex-students asking us to take firm action to decolonise the curriculum.
At the time of the protests, we released a statement to declare our firm commitment to taking a stand together against racism, injustice and hate.
On this page you can find an update on how we are starting the work of putting that commitment into action.
The NBP16 Leadership team met with alumni of both of our schools (representing the signatories on the letter) to hear the voices of our former students and gain feedback about our plans to move forward with our work on antiracism.
This year we have relaunched our student leadership structure to create roles specifically focused on equity and diversity. The role of these student leaders will be to help capture and amplify the voices of the marginalised in our community, as well as challenging privilege. A firm priority of these new roles will be educating and informing structural change for the empowerment of our BAME students and continuing the work of making our whole community an antiracist space. They will also lead with an understanding that social justice (and injustice) is intersectional, therefore incorporating the voices of other marginalised identities into their work, as appropriate.
At both Cotham and Redland Green schools our staff will have a series of training opportunities throughout the year to build their confidence in this work. The direction of this is being supported by our staff BAME strategy group/diversity working party and includes things like an antiracism staff library and some training created and delivered by our own student leaders (like this video created by a Year 13 student for a staff training session).
Together, we are working with Leeds Beckett University to review our progress and better understand the areas where we need to improve. We are committed to a programme of work to embed a culture of antiracism in all aspects of our community.
As part of the working structure of the Centre, we have a termly Post 16 Forum which offers an opportunity for subject leaders at both schools to share and collaborate in the development of teaching, learning and assessment. This year the core focus of this forum is the diversification and decolonisation of the curriculum.
- We have started a working relationship with former student Michael Herford to explore a range of ways that we can join up our work in this area.
As we conduct our annual curriculum review, we will be carefully reviewing the provision we have in place to ensure that our offer is broad, our content is representative and our admissions process removes barriers for students who have faced additional challenges, especially those who have English as an additional language.
This year we have also looked carefully at our Tutor Program to help our staff and students build the confidence and vocabulary to talk about race. We have developed some guidelines together to support this and have incorporated a weekly discussion session into our program where students will discuss the issues raised through the social media post of a BAME influencer.
To mark Black History Month this year, we want to ensure that we are talking about how we can get to a point where Black History does not need an isolated month, but is integrally learned and celebrated in year-round learning. As a starting point, we are ‘sharing the mic’ with our students, asking them to express their views on how education can, and must, do more to represent and educate around students’ racial identity and heritage. You can see more of this on our social media channels.
We recognise that the work of becoming a truly antiracist space is not something that can be ‘completed’. We recognise that this is work that we will need to commit to as a continuing endeavour.
We look forward to sharing our progress in the weeks, months and years ahead.
“I hear people asking ‘How do I get started? How do I do this?’ You just start. It won’t be perfect. It’ll be messy and it’ll be hard, but you’re on your way.”
- Ava Duvernay