October is Black History Month. The month is marked to honour the contributions made to society by people of Black heritage and their communities. It is a time to educate and enrich the world with the importance of Black history.
At Churchill, we mark Black History Month with resources for our tutors to use with tutor groups, to help our students understand the importance of Black history. For example:
We also encourage our students to be critical and independent thinkers. The American actor, Morgan Freeman, has criticised Black History Month as “ridiculous.” “I don’t want a black history month,” he said, “black history is American history.“ So, whilst we do mark Black History Month, we also ensure that our curriculum is rich, broad and diverse all year round – and not just in History.
From our studies in history, geography and RE, to the selection of texts in English, the examples of scientists in Science, artists in Art and beyond, we think carefully about our choices to challenge our students to look at a range of diverse experiences and perspectives. Our learning groups in Years 7-9, are named after significant figures from the fields of different faculties, from a range of diverse backgrounds. These include Mary Seacole, who was named as the greatest black Briton in a 2004 BBC poll, and civil rights campaigner Paul Stephenson. In tutor time this week, students have been looking at the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Chinua Achebe, Marcus Rashford and Diane Abbott to their respective fields and contexts.
We remain completely committed to being an inclusive school which celebrates diversity. At Churchill, we want to ensure that everybody feels like they belong – no matter their background, heritage or identity. It’s therefore important to bring people together around events like Black History Month to get people to come together to continue to make change for the better – even if it is just one part of our overall strategy.
We encourage all our students to adopt an anti-racist approach, and to ensure that they are allies to their fellow students, who may be different to themselves. Educating ourselves about discrimination and prejudice, and speaking out against injustice, is an essential part of that approach.