On 18th September every single Headteacher of Cumbria’s primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and higher education institutions, council leaders, MPs and educational leaders were sent the letter below.
The Lakes School, QEGS and Cockermouth School also received petitions that had been organised by their own former and current pupils. Between them these petitions have attracted more than 600 signatures. Anti Racist Cumbria is building on this momentum to encourage ALL Cumbrian schools to be actively anti-racist and to celebrate black and brown voices throughout the curriculum. If you care about Cumbria, are from here, have kids here, lived here or still do please show your support by signing the letter. We will collate all your signatures to present to our schools, we will only publicly share your first name and link to Cumbria.
AN ONLINE MEETING ON RACE AND EDUCATION IN CUMBRIAN SCHOOLS, FOR HEADTEACHERS, SENIOR STAFF MEMBERS AND SCHOOL GOVERNORS 22 OCTOBER 2020 4.30pm
Anti Racist Cumbria is a new community-led organisation formed in light of the global Black Lives Matter movement, a time when we all need to reflect on issues of race and what we can do to combat racial discrimination. Our Mission Statement: “tackling and ending racism through action and education to create a forward-thinking and actively anti-racist Cumbria; free from prejudice and systemic inequalities”.
In Cumbria, race-related hate crime has increased 41% between 2016 and 2019* and as recently as last month, new figures revealed schools in our county excluded pupils for racist bullying over 30 times last year**. Every day brings fresh evidence that our society is at a turning point and whilst this moment is precarious, it feels both extraordinary and hopeful. Cumbria has an historic opportunity to accelerate a transition to a more just and equitable future, and you are part of it. We believe meaningful change starts with education, and schools working with organisations like ours can ensure pupils of all backgrounds leave fully prepared to contribute positively to a multicultural society.
All Cumbrian schools need to be a part of this change. It is imperative that you, or a member of your senior management team and/or members of your Governors team attends:
Attendance is also expected from Local MPs, District Council Leaders, Chief of Police Cumbria, Education Leaders and the Chief Executive of Cumbria County Council.
Our keynote speakers are highly respected in Education, however we feel it’s important you also hear first-hand experiences from the voices of black and brown young people who have gone through Cumbria’s education system and from young white people who have done the same. This thought-provoking dialogue will be a platform from which we can work with you to support your school and together start to look at addressing and overcoming the difficulties that lead to racial disparities in education. Some of these conversations are not comfortable; they are not meant to be, but they do need to happen. Education has a huge part to play in tackling these issues and we want to work with you and support you in developing actions which enable your curriculum to simply do better. We have already begun curating a wide collection of resources designed to support your curriculum and will tailor our support as best we can to make it appropriate to your school’s situation.
You can see Anti Racist Cumbria’s full company structure on its website; our Education Working Group is made up of Cumbrian teachers and education specialists with decades of experience in and out of the classroom. They understand the pressure you are under and the myriad of competing priorities you regularly contend with. Equally however, we all owe it to the children of Cumbria to prepare them for a global future. Together we can make a difference to your pupils, your school and your community.
We feel excited and positive about initiating this relationship with you and we look forward to meeting you along with other regional school headteachers/senior management on 22nd October. Our call to action at the end of the meeting, will be for your school’s commitment to signing up to a series of pledges, some that we know you can implement immediately and easily and some which will require longer term planning, but all with support and collaboration at its root.
We look forward to seeing you there. RSVP options are detailed in the enclosed invite.
*Crime Survey of England & Wales, Police Recorded Crime Series, commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8537/
**Department of Education Stats Data 2018-19