Racial Justice, Equality and Diversity (RJED)
As Catholics we believe that every human being is created equally in the image of God. As a school we recognise the essential requirement to oppose racism and seek racial equity in all aspects of our school’s ethos, curriculum and practices.
In Summer Term 2020, Mrs Ram formed our school’s Diversity Committee, initially meeting via zoom (as Covid 19 restrictions required). Formed of parents, the committee worked collaboratively on a number of key actions.
Each subject leader presented their curriculum area to the committee to allow them to review our curriculum offer and consider the diversity and representation present. Curriculum alterations were then suggested, and Mrs Ram and Mrs Mac Labhrai set to work. A natural starting point for the committee was the History curriculum, as Mrs Ram was also the History Subject Leader at that time.
In the case of History, the task was to:
- Where appropriate, include gender, ethnicity, and social class, religion and disability, in order to gain an insight into the diversity of people’s experiences at given times in the past.
- . Ensurethat teaching and learning about diversity is related to all aspects of ‘big-picture’ ideas including local, regional and British, European and world history and culture from the distant to recent past.
- Examinegaps in the way in which textbooks and websites etc. reflect the diversity of people’s experiences at given times in the past.
- Go beyond looking at significant people, specific groups or events to understand the diverse experiences of people during specific periods and events in the past
The document below indicates the new content added to existing history units of work and in some cases the new units that were planned and resourced. In some classes, whole units of work did not need replanning but individual lessons within units could be re-focused to allow children to understand a greater diversity of person and place in the studied time periods. Examples of this includes: the Battle of Britain (Y6) topic where children now learn about the Polish and Czech contributions, Roman Impact on Britain (Y4) and Tudor (Y5) where the diversity of Britain in those eras is made explicit.
Mrs Ram then led significant staff training in Academic Year 2020/2021. Training initially focused on deepening staff understanding of race, culture, and intersecting identities. As well as benefiting from Anti-Bias training, teachers were also supported to increase ethnic representation across their focus curriculum area. Further training was focused on the role of representation in the classroom environment (through displays, book corner etc.) later that same year. Increased budget for reading books with improved representation and greater diversity were provided too.
Mrs Ram also wrote, in conjunction with the Diversity Committee, our school’s first Anti-Racism Policy which was then ratified by our school’s governing body.
In Academic Year 2021/2022 the Geography curriculum was reviewed. A new unit was created ‘Explore Eastern Europe’ (Y5) and INSET training for all staff was provided on the need for careful consideration of the teaching of place. In Geography teaching at the primary level there is a danger of over-generalising, of projecting stereotypes and out of date images and of over simplifying information. The supportive document produced for staff can be found below by clicking on the picture.
A suggested teaching pedagogy was suggested and common pitfalls to avoid were explained. Following this all Geography planning and resourcing was reviewed.
Mrs Ram also led and ran Holy Rood’s first Cooking Competition, where different members of our school community (staff, parents and governors) made and recorded a dish from their culture. The school learnt about the Maltese, Sri Lankan, Indian, Irish and South African heritage of our staff community and how to make their national dishes!
The committee are also provided with attainment data at EYFS, Key Stage 1 and 2 so that comparison of outcomes between ethnic groups within are school is highlighted as an ongoing priority and focus.
In Autumn 2022, our school received accreditation from Educating For Equality, who had reviewed our school’s work on racial equality and embedding anti-racism into our school curriculum and granted us the ‘Allegiance Award’.
At the academy level, Mrs Ram gave a presentation for ASCAT governors, in Spring Term 2023 where she presented Holy Rood’s work so far. Mrs Ram also presented our school’s work at training to other Westminster diocesan schools.
Whilst we are proud of the work achieved so far, we also recognise that this is an ongoing mission. Education is a tool for social justice and educating our children about race and racism will allow them to create a more just future for all.
A prayer ...
God of our past, present and future, you created each one of us in your image and likeness, help us to recognise you in each person
As we pray for end to suffering caused by racism lead us this day to walk with one another, pray with one another and work together, so that we create a future based on justice and healing, where all can fulfil the hope you have for all peoples.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.