The school community of Burntstump Seely C of E Academy in Arnold have for the past year been looking at ways to further strengthen their approach to diversity and equality. Now, with the backing of staff, parents and Governors, the children have created a pupil led focus group called the ‘Equity Ambassadors’.
Teacher, Mrs Sally Glover, is supporting the group, and says, “What we are doing at Burntstump, is acknowledging that no organisation, be it a business, or a school like us, can leave such important matters to chance. We have to shine a light on the problem of racism, and discrimination, and to give our staff and children a voice to challenge and question it, that is the only way to drive positive change. We want our children to grow up in a world which calls out racism and discrimination and where marginalising a person or a group is not tolerated.”
Now the Equity Ambassadors, a group of Year 4, 5 and 6 children, are regularly meeting to discuss issues including equality and diversity, racism, discrimination, as well as prejudice which can give rise to unacceptable attitudes and behaviour. “The children are encouraged to discuss the subject in a respectful and safe environment,” said Sally.
Pupil Ciaran is in year 6 and said he is pleased to be a part of the group. “We are called the Equity Ambassadors, and we formed because we want to make sure that everybody feels happy and safe in school. We want to show that it is OK to be different and we want to challenge things like racism and discrimination.”
The Equity Ambassadors, represented by Mrs Glover and pupils Ciaran and Daniel, presented their ongoing efforts (via Teams) to a meeting of Burntstump Seely’s ‘Anti-Racism Working Party’. The Anti-Racism Working Party is a collaboration of parents, teachers and the school Governors who meet regularly to raise awareness and discuss any issues, or to arrange activities the school can take part in, like Black History Month or ‘This is Me Day’.
“We are fortunate to be a diverse school and we want to be able to discuss these matters in a way that promotes understanding and not division. Working alongside and presenting children’s work to the Anti-Racism Working Party has been very helpful. As staff we value the ideas and input from our parents, and this is a way of strengthening the collaboration.