New anti-racism drive launched in Suffolk schools
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An anti-racism group has been launched across Suffolk and East Anglian schools - with one leader saying primaries and secondaries are not “squeaky clean” and must do more to tackle discrimination.
Stephen Chamberlain - chief executive of the Active Learning Trust, which runs Chantry Academy and Hillside Primary School, in Ipswich - said: “Although many would like to think of ‘education’ as a subject and as a practice as ‘squeaky clean’ or racism free, that is not the case.
“Education perpetuates racism in two main ways - institutional racist practices, systems and structures, and through the delivery of a curriculum that is not racially inclusive.
“It is important schools across East Anglia do more than just make statements and we must all commit to robustly reviewing existing practice and curricula, and support and challenge each other to increase the diversity in our workforce.”
He has joined forces with Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership - which runs Newmarket Academy, Felixstowe School and others - and Professor Paul Miller to set up the East Anglia Anti-Racism Education Collective (EEAREC)
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Following growing debates about race following George Floyd and Breonna Taylor scandals in America, the group aims to promote inclusion, diversity and social justice for all.
Mr Chamberlain said: “This will ensure East Anglia is a leading example in the promotion of anti-racism and in the guarantee of an education system that is equitable for every pupil.”
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Mr Coulson added: “We want to engender and facilitate real and purposeful progress in the education of anti-racism across schools in our region.
“In decades’ time, when we look back at this pivotal moment for racial and social justice activism, we want each leader, each organisation and the EAAREC as a whole to be able to say: ‘I did something to challenge and stomp out racism.’”
Prof Miller, principal consultant and director of Educational Equity Services, said: “Our ambition is to talk about race openly and help each member and the group to develop a shared vocabulary and practice in anti-racism.”
The collective’s inaugural virtual conference will take place online on Tuesday, November 10, between 4pm and 5.30pm.