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Black Lives Matter

Coombe Girls’ School response to recent events and the Black Lives Matter movement

On 25th May 2020, an African-American man George Floyd, was killed whilst in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; a death that has spurred a global civil rights movement and international calls for anti-racist action.

It has been a deeply upsetting time seeing the shocking scenes unfold in the USA and then more recently around the globe including here in the UK. It is too easy to look at the situation in America and dismiss the issues as American. However, many people have shared experiences which demonstrate that equality is not always afforded to all. The roots of prejudice and discrimination run deep within society; calls have rightly been made for systemic change.

At Coombe we strongly believe that we all have rights and responsibilities and that we should be free to live and work as equals, free from prejudice and discrimination. We firmly acknowledge the Protected Characteristics in the Equality Act 2010. As a school we have a responsibility to not only celebrate our diversity but ensure that we acknowledge the reality of our range of privilege and (capacity) for unconscious bias. An awareness of our own privilege within a multicultural community and possibility of unconscious bias is an important step towards equality. The curriculum we deliver and the class discussions we have at an age appropriate level, carefully attempt to challenge any privilege, bias and discrimination as well as better understand and celebrate our diversity.

Global movements can make us question what we can do in support. How can we at Coombe demonstrate our support of a world where all people are free and equal? During this unusual time the majority of us will have more opportunity than ever to talk to our children. We need parents and carers to talk about diversity with their children too. At Coombe we work to foster a community that consciously embraces diversity. We have a responsibility to ensure our curriculum has opportunities to learn about and learn from the diversity in our local community and across the world and to ensure our students are active contributors and empowered members of a diverse society, who can work together against discrimination.

Coombe is committed to supporting this call for systemic change through education. We have a planned programme of professional development for all staff including a formal review of the curriculum which begins with middle leaders on the staff INSET day on 26th June. We as a community believe it is not OK to say we don’t see colour, because this diminishes the unique and beautiful differences that are inherent in a diverse culture. We believe it is not OK to aim just not to be racist. We must be and our children must be, anti-racist.

Statement in response to the murder of Sarah Everard

At Coombe, we are clear that women and girls have a right to feel safe, be safe and to thrive in our society. The murder of Sarah Everard as she walked home and the many testimonies from women about their own experiences has drawn into the national spotlight the need for further action.

As a proud girls’ school, we are committed to excellence in girls’ education and empowerment. At Coombe, we passionately believe that girls and women should be able to fulfil their potential and live the life they choose, without being defined, limited or encumbered by any form of discrimination or inappropriate behaviours. This is something we want to make increasingly prominent in our school.

Now we want to harness our collective energy to ensure that we call out and challenge all forms of misogyny. Working with Coombe Boys’ School and Coombe Sixth Form, we will consider our curriculum, as well as topics covered in active tutorial, assemblies and PSHE, to ensure that they adequately address the issues highlighted by the murder of Sarah and attacks on other women. One of the first jobs of the new student leadership team will be to work with staff to create opportunities for student voice around this topic.

We will continue to work for an equal world where girls and women are safe, happy and fulfil their potential.