The school hubs initiative takes a system-led, collaborative approach to school improvement. The Racially Literate Curriculum hub is part of the Southwark Stands Together programme to help schools develop their anti-racist practice. It will support all schools to develop the capacity and expertise to bring about improvement through sharing examples of diverse curricula, self-evaluation and discussion, and high-quality leadership and teaching.
We spoke to the Racially Literate Team at Camelot Primary School to find out why you should join the hub.
We are also on this journey
“Camelot is a diverse school,” says Racially Literate Curriculum hub lead, governor, and Year 6 teacher, Loria Lossa-Grant. “We have children from a wide range of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds: Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia.
That's one of the main reasons we decided to change our curriculum: to meet the needs of our children here at Camelot. We wanted our curriculum to represent the majority of our school and be more relevant for them.”
“We’re also trying to raise awareness within the school and cultivate an environment where teachers are comfortable to be racially inclusive,” adds Year 3 teacher, Dele Voncken.
Racial Literacy is for everyone!
Whether you’re a teacher or younger or older pupil, racial literacy is for everyone. Year 2 teacher, Jo Bennet, explains why: “Racial literacy is not just for one set, and I think that’s demonstrated in the variety of members in the racial literacy team.” While Jo has lower KS1 and early years’ experience, Dele has lower KS2 experience and Loria has upper KS2 experience. “We're trying to show that this is relevant to everyone, no matter what age children are.”
Loria is keen for as many people as possible to become involved in the hub. “This hub is really for the whole of the borough, our community and even some of the schools outside the borough have shown interest as well,” she enthuses. “We just want to show the community of Camelot that we value them and their cultures, and how we incorporate them within our school.”
We’ll be approaching this in different ways to keep it engaging
“The idea of the hub is to help schools understand what racial literacy is and
how to become a racially literate school,” says Jo, “and we'll be sharing our journey and helping other people get started on that journey as well.”
The team plan to share their curriculum, their curriculum vision, and the journey that they’ve been on so far through various workshops. Various speakers will visit the school, they’ll be offering Twilight sessions, some of which will be run by school staff, and there'll be inset days.
“I think what is unique about the hub is that we are also trying to include the community,” adds Dele, “so we will be running workshops with parents to understand where they are with their children and how they can help them.”
Racial literacy can only lead to positive results
“Since we’ve started adapting our curriculum it’s had such a big, positive impact in terms of the engagement of pupils in their learning,” says Jo. “I think if children feel that their identity and who they are is a part of their learning and that they are represented across the curriculum, they get more excited about their work. We've noticed that they have become passionate global citizens and our children have developed that sense of moral outrage in terms of saying ‘no’ when they feel something is wrong or knowing how to stand up for their beliefs, and how to stand up for others. I think that is important.”
It’s time to move forward with education
“There is a misconception that one curriculum fits all,” says Loria. “We have done a lot of work on our curriculum. We have made those national curriculum links and can show other schools it is possible to have that ethos and to create a racially literate curriculum that will benefit the pupils and teachers.”
“When people teach black history or history about cultures, there seems to be automatic victimisation in it,” says Jo. “We don't want to teach it in terms of slavery, racism and oppression. We want to celebrate the cultures and achievements, and show that people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities aren't victims; you're brilliant and you've got an amazing cultural history and strength that we should be celebrating.”
“We should not be just focusing on the oppressive element of history by itself,” adds Loria. “It’s important for children to recognise the contribution that their cultures have made to this country, to have a better awareness of themselves, and to make them aware of the full, accurate history.”
Sign up for the Racially Literate Curriculum hub launch event on Wednesday 30 March here.