A call for change

As the leader of this School community, I have shared my reflections on an outpouring of comments about racism and CCHS.  Now is the time for listening, renewal and change.  I cannot erase the past experiences of any of our students; but what we can do, together, is provide a new channel where voices will be heard to direct and drive change.  As the Headteacher, I want to express my deepest sorrow and apologies to any student, or member of staff, if you have ever felt let down, or if it seems as if you were not listened to, or thought you were not respected at CCHS.

What next?

I have always been proud of the collaborative and progressive culture within the School.  I do not claim to have all the answers, and neither do School staff – far from it.  We need to involve our community.  The next steps need to be shaped and owned by all of us, as a collective.

Mrs Ledwidge, Deputy Headteacher, will take on the role of guiding the conversations around where we go from here and we will be initiating these with students, staff, governors, parents and alumnae over the next few weeks.

We are listening

But before we announce anything further, I want to facilitate and encourage you to talk to us.

We have set up an email address change@cchs.essex.sch.uk where students, present and past, can make suggestions as to how we can improve, do better, and move forward together.

Let me be clear:  we do not and will not tolerate racism within our School community.

Final thought

I wrote previously that: “We are a proud community.  We are not a perfect community.  Our ambition is to continually improve, to make progress and to move forward, together.”

I want to acknowledge that there has been hurt and pain, and that these wounds need to be attended to.  I humbly suggest that we best serve this important cause by working together.

Mr S Lawlor, Headteacher

Update

Context

In the weeks since we launched change@cchs we have been busy listening, both to the voices from within our community and the Black Lives Matter movement more broadly.

Our School community has actively engaged with this new channel and people have reached out to share their experiences, their insights and their suggestions of things we could be doing.

These emails have come from students, staff, parents, governors and alumnae; from those within the BAME community and those outside it. It has given us the opportunity to reflect and we are grateful to everyone who has engaged so far.

While we are still in the listening phase of our work I wanted to share some initial thoughts on how we will be taking this initiative forward.

Framework

There have been some key themes emerging from these conversations and we have been able to create four pillars that will form the foundations of this work and the next steps we take together.

We understand that it is not enough to be non-racist, but that as a School we need to be actively anti-racist.  Ensuring our community is not part of the problem does not go far enough. We must empower our students to be part of the solution.

We know we do not have all of the answers so we would encourage our School community to continue to engage with change@cchs and help us to better understand the issues.

The structure that we have started to put in place is shown below and this framework will form the change@cchs development initiative, which will form an integral part of our overall School Development Plan.

Leadership & Management

  • Policy review
  • Governor appointment
  • Recruitment
  • Anti-racism Charter/Declaration
  • Method of reporting

Curriculum

  • Curriculum reform
  • Library resources
  • Extra-curricular incl. Enrichment Days
  • PSHE reform
Teaching & Learning

  • Staff training
  • External speakers
  • Learning environment
Pastoral

  • Committee incl. Prefect role (Consisting of: Students,  Staff, Parents, Governing Body)
  • Primary outreach
  • Peer-led workshop
  • Assemblies
  • PSHE provision

Actions

 Through these development pillars and the work of the leadership team and pastoral committee this framework will animate our actions.

Some work has already begun:  staff training will take place before the end of this academic year, PSHE resources and assemblies are already being revised, research into curriculum reform is happening, and reading lists have been compiled.

Next Steps:

In the Autumn Term, we will publish a timeline, with milestones and success criteria to our School community.

I will continue to keep you updated on our progress in this area and want to finish by thanking everyone who has engaged with us so far. Your contributions have been invaluable and we are proud that CCHS is such a passionate and committed School community.

Mrs E Ledwidge

Deputy Headteacher and Project Manager of change@cchs