Tackling Racism and unconscious bias at Colfe’s
Colfe’s stands firmly against racism and unconscious bias. The national conversation following the death of George Floyd has provided an opportunity for us to review our approach to racism. The school issued a statement on the 9th June which should be read in conjunction with this document. We apologise unreservedly to any member of the Colfeian community who has been a victim of racism during their time at the school.
- Racist behaviour in school. We acknowledge that racist behaviour occurs in school from time to time. All such allegations and concerns will be investigated and records will be retained on file. Racial concerns will be a standing item on the agenda of the whole school senior management team which meets weekly, chaired by the Headmaster or the Deputy Head. SMT meetings are also attended monthly by the Chair of Governors. Pupils guilty of racist behaviour will be appropriately punished. Repeat offenders, or those who have committed very serious breaches of the school’s anti-racist policy, will be excluded on a fixed-term or permanent basis.
- Unconscious bias. We acknowledge the fact of unconscious bias and its relevance to a workforce which is predominantly white British. We will engage external experts to assist with the raising of awareness of unconscious bias and ensure that, for teachers, alongside safeguarding and child protection, the subject is addressed at least annually through staff training. Unconscious bias will continue to be addressed through the PHSEE programme for pupils.
- The curriculum. The history curriculum in the junior school and in Years 7 to 9 of the senior school will be reviewed to ensure that Britain’s colonial past is appropriately represented. Teachers will receive training to enable them to deliver the revised curriculum to racially and culturally diverse classes. Texts selected for study in English will reflect the diversity of our cultural tradition and academic departments will be required to conduct a cultural audit of their schemes of work. We acknowledge, however, that there are external constraints in this area. In the GCSE and A level years, particularly, we are obliged to teach what the exam boards prescribe and prepare pupils as best we can for success in the examinations.
- Staff recruitment. We acknowledge that BAME communities are under-represented in the staff room at Colfe’s. After careful consideration, however, we have decided not to introduce positive discrimination in favour of applicants from those communities. Subject knowledge, classroom management and the capacity to inspire children will remain the key criteria in the recruitment of staff. Within this context, however, we will do what we can to attract a higher proportion of good applicants from BAME communities through the wording of job advertisements and job specifications. Where possible, we will include at least one BAME candidate in all shortlists for interview.
- Communication channel. A dedicated email address will be established through which pupils and ex-pupils can communicate directly with the school about present or historic concerns. Content will be visible exclusively to the Head, currently Mr Richard Russell and the Director of Pastoral Care, currently Mrs Jane German. Any related investigation will be conducted in a sensitive and professional manner.