Equality and Inclusion
Bristol is a city marked by vast socio-economic inequality and despite being considered a prosperous city, with an above average educational system, Bristol has more areas categorised as being in the most deprived 10% in England compared to other cities in the country. Bristol also shoulders a very specific legacy in the context of colonial history including the slave trade as well as the Civil Rights Activism of the 1960s.
When looking at the data across the city of Bristol and indeed across the country, it outlines that BAME students are underperforming compared with their peers and there is a larger percentage of BAME students who are permanently excluded. While there are going to be external factors, beyond the school’s control, that contribute to this disparity, we are committed to tackling any internal factors that may also be contributing to the lower levels of attainment amongst our BAME students.
Combined with this, Bristol is facing wider challenges that expose our young people to greater levels of aggression, violence and disorder, more often than not as a result of growing tensions between different groups in the wake of events such as Brexit. Bristol also holds a proud ‘Exist to Resist’ identifier and this has been evidenced by the large numbers of Bristolians joining activist groups such as Extinction Rebellion and others. Cotham’s diversity is our greatest gift and we are passionate to put in the hard work to tackle unconscious bias, xenophobia, homophobia and marginalisation and also to continue our journey to being an anti racist school.
Promoting equality, celebrating diversity and championing inclusion is our priority and we are committed to the social justice and equity required to give all our students the knowledge, experience and skills to counter inequality and build a world that is a fairer and safer place for all. This work is being undertaken in a number of different ways as outlined in various sections on this page.
2020 has forever changed the way we talk about race.
The death of George Floyd in police custody sparked an international wave of protests as people took to the streets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The impact of this was felt with great strength in our city and by many staff and students at the North Bristol Post 16 Centre, who have brought their voices to this cause.
Like most schools in the country, we also received a letter at this time signed by hundreds of our ex-students asking us to take firm action to decolonise the curriculum.
At the time of the protests, we released a statement to declare our firm commitment to taking a stand together against racism, injustice and hate.
The commitment we have made is to amplify the voices of the marginalised in our community, as well as challenging privilege. We are working to achieve this by educating and implementing structural change for the empowerment of our BAME students and continuing the work of making our whole community an antiracist space. This important work is undertaken with an understanding that social justice (and injustice) is intersectional, therefore the needs and interests of all marginalized groups will need to be brought into this conversation.
We recognise that the work of becoming a truly antiracist and inclusive space, where equity and diversity values are entirely upheld, is not something that can be ‘completed’. We recognise that this is work that we will need to commit to as a continuing endeavour.
On this page you can find updates on how we are working to put that commitment into action. We look forward to sharing our progress in the weeks, months and years ahead:
“I hear people asking ‘How do I get started? How do I do this?’ You just start. It won’t be perfect. It’ll be messy and it’ll be hard, but you’re on your way.”
- Ava Duvernay