Last Thursday, to mark the beginning of Putney’s Black History Month celebrations, we were delighted to welcome Lavinya Stennett, the CEO of The Black Curriculum project as our PIE at Lunchtime speaker. We are proud to be one of the first learning partners of The Black Curriculum project – an enterprise set up last year to address the lack of Black British history in the UK curriculum. Working with them, we are looking closely at the whole curriculum not least History, Politics, Geography, Religious Studies and PSHE, and not only for one month.
In the weeks ahead, we look forward to a whole range of activities that will bring these topics into focus, not just for this month, but in the longer term. Our Year 7, 8 and 9 Historians will be choosing a significant figure in Black History to investigate and subsequently present on the History noticeboard. In Tutor Time our students will be transported on a tour of the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee and we will be listening to podcasts and TED talks on the Great Migration, Civil Rights activist, Septima Clark and other significant but lesser known figures and events of Black History. Most importantly, when Black History Month is over, our commitment most certainly will not be. In December our student council will be focussing on the topic of Diversity and every year, our newly appointed Diversity class reps will ensure these issues remain firmly in the spotlight, every day, in every year group.
Over recent months in the context of the Black Lives Matter campaign, I have spoken to many pupils and alumnae to hear their opinions on diversity, inclusion and the breadth of the education we offer at Putney. We are committed to equality of opportunity for all and our community is based on an ethos of mutual respect and consideration. More than that, as we nurture and inspire the next generation – young women who will (and do) go out to make an impact in the world – we are in a position to make a difference. It is a responsibility that we take seriously in all we do, from the culture we create to the curriculum we deliver.
Being a democratic community is fundamental. We encourage everyone to have a voice and know that this means we must listen, whether it be to the views and ideas raised in the meetings of our active POCSOC (People of Colour Society) or the thoughts and questions of our pupils, staff and alumnae. Respectful dialogue, understanding and education are key to any progress.
These are the sorts of discussions we are having within school, to ensure our students receive the rich, diverse and inclusive education that they deserve and which positions them to play a full and informed role now and in their future lives. We don’t have all the answers, but we are actively involved in the debate.