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News > Alumni News > Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Headmaster James Hooke underlines his faith in the power of education to fight the systemic racism that blights modern society.
22 Jun 2020
Alumni News
Harrodian's statement written in response to the BLM movement
Harrodian's statement written in response to the BLM movement

In a statement written in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Harrodian Headmaster James Hooke underlines his faith in the power of education to fight the systemic racism that blights modern society.

Education is, and always has been, key to opening minds and building a better, more equal future.

The abhorrent and senseless killing of George Floyd has shocked, appalled and shaken us all. It has, of course, saddened me that it has taken such a tragic event to spark important and long overdue conversations about racism across the UK. Like many of you, it has made me reflect deeply on the responsibility of schools to educate our young people on issues of diversity, race and equality, whilst continuing to foster a culture of tolerance and acceptance. Education is, and always has been, key to opening minds and building a better, more equal future. It is imperative that young people are given the tools, guidance and confidence to understand the part they play in developing an anti-racist society within which they will be proud to live.

What I love most about our school, having worked here for more than 25 years, is how I continue to be energised, inspired and impressed by our wonderful staff and pupils. The inclusive and compassionate values that Harrodians display every day fill me with much optimism for their future. Crucially, support of our BAME pupils and staff will continue to ensure that everyone within our community feels comfortable, welcome and valued.

It is clear, however, that there is still more we can do as a community to acknowledge and fight the systemic racism that exists across society.

In recent days I have been grateful to those parents, staff and Harrodians - past and present - who have contacted me to share their views, thoughts and experiences. I have always valued our openness and inclusivity, and our strength in recognising where and when things should be improved has undoubtedly been an important factor in the successful growth of our school. I would like to thank those former Harrodians who have written in with many helpful, pragmatic and constructive ideas, including consideration of The Black Curriculum, a social enterprise founded by young people to address the lack of Black British history being taught in schools.

In the interest of openness, I want to share with you the areas we can and will improve on in how we teach and discuss issues around social justice, racial bias, discrimination and equality. While these are initial steps, I intend to use the voice of our student body as a platform to reflect upon how we educate around social justice and, importantly, decide how we can continue to improve going forward.

I have asked Department and Section Heads to review the content of their courses to ensure key aspects of race and diversity are properly addressed in their curricula, and that any necessary changes are quickly implemented. Forthcoming staff training will focus on supporting diversity and learning how to recognise and address unconscious bias.

I have been immensely proud of the success and positive impact of Harrodian’s PSHE programme and believe this can continue to be used effectively across the school. A similar audit will be undertaken to ensure that topics such as racism, prejudice, privilege, discrimination, identity and inequality are fully covered at the age-appropriate times. Our two newly elected Senior PSHE prefects will be tasked to work closely with our Senior Prefect Team (including our new Head Boy and Head Girl) and School Council to listen to pupils’ views and feed back ideas to inform our thinking.

It is also important that the platforms for debate, discussion and collaboration at Harrodian are maintained across the student and staff body through our regular Thomson Society and Student Society talks.

Harrodians have always been encouraged to be outward thinkers and global citizens and I am confident they will recognise their responsibilities to strike out for equality and fairness in our world.



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