Black Lives Matter
The Independent Schools Council and the associations it represents fully support efforts to tackle racism or any other type of discrimination – there is need for positive, meaningful change.
Racism is a serious issue for all schools and for wider society.
We have been in correspondence with Tiwa Adebayo, who is playing a pivotal role in drawing attention to this important issue in schools, beginning with the publication of an open letter in The Independent. The ISC has communicated its support to Tiwa and her fellow campaigners in developing practical suggestions to help prevent pupils from experiencing racist abuse and to share best practice reminders with schools across the UK.
We know that our constituent associations are looking at what more they can do through professional development programmes, diversity and equality group meetings, as well as by working with equality organisations - such as HMC working with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to examine how the curriculum could benefit from greater attention to inclusion (read the HMC statement in response to the Black Lives Matters campaign).
One of the ISC’s affiliate associations, the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA), has created a resource hub for schools to help efforts to tackle racism or any other type of prejudice.
The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI)
The Independent Schools Inspectorate is a government approved independent inspectorate for independent schools, quality assured on behalf of the Department for Education.
Like Ofsted, the ISI considers how effectively schools deal with discrimination, including racism, in all its forms. Inspectors review policies and, crucially, evaluate the effectiveness of their implementation through interviews with pupils and teachers, anonymous questionnaires and opportunities to speak individually with inspectors. Where a school fails to encourage respect for others and/or deal effectively with racism, it will be judged as not meeting the standards and the DfE as regulator will take any appropriate action.
The following ISC press statement was published by Tes in an article on 2 June, 2020.
Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, said: “It is heart-breaking to read of the harrowing experiences detailed in this letter. Speaking out about racism is key to tackling it and I am sure school leaders will welcome conversations with the young people in their care about this issue to ensure they know how to share concerns or seek advice.
“We know that schools strive to be inclusive and tolerant environments in which the wellbeing of every young person comes first. Should a pupil ever be worried about racism or feel they have been the victim of abuse of any kind they should report it immediately. We are unequivocal – racism cannot be tolerated.”