Herts for Learning's (HfL) response to the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement
HfL’s purpose is founded on our belief that every young person, through access to a great education, should be able to realise their potential, regardless of where they live or their circumstances. We deplore the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Manuel Ellis and countless others who have lost their lives due to unrelenting racial injustices and we recognise the uncomfortable truths that we all must face.
HfL acknowledges that systemic racism is a problem that must be addressed everywhere. We have a duty to face up to the difficult conversations that ultimately result in the lifting of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) voices. We know that in Britain, Black children are more likely to experience poverty, have poorer educational outcomes, be excluded from school, be unemployed, and come into contact with the criminal justice system. They are less likely to access the care they need if they are struggling with mental health problems, and Black children are more likely to act as carers for ill and disabled family members and to miss out on support. We know that the Black community is underrepresented in teaching staff, even more so at a leadership level and we acknowledge that that impacts upon Black children’s experience of education. We acknowledge the position we are in today and we refuse to fail to learn.
It is crucial that we take action beyond statements. We welcome challenge on our practices and will not be afraid of robust questioning. Furthermore, HfL pledges that, with immediate effect, we will:
- Promote the comprehensive review of the curriculum coverage of Black history in Hertfordshire schools, to ensure that, at every key stage, Black voices are heard, Black stories are told and Black achievements and contributions to society are celebrated. It is vital that all Hertfordshire children have knowledge of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Britain’s colonial background and how our nations came to be ethnically diverse
- Support school leaders, through our school improvement work, to review the entire curriculum experience to ensure that there is good representation of Black voices and experiences: in and outside the formal taught curriculum, in each subject area, through trips and visits coverage and the profile of speakers.
- For all internal recruitment and recruitment that we support schools with, we will minimise unconscious bias by presenting blind view CVs to hiring managers and, where there is more than one stage to the process, conducting all initial meetings over the telephone. We commit to doing all that is possible to ensure that ethnicity is unknown throughout all hiring processes.
- Monitor, report and take action upon any differences in successful hires, performance results, promotions and pay between our Black and non-Black colleagues.
- Invite all colleagues that identify as BAME to form a BAME forum with a view to creating internal, education tools and lifting BAME voices. This forum will be given an Executive level platform to make robust recommendations that seek to further the cause of ending systemic racism both internally and with the work that we do.
- HfL recognises that these issues affect the whole BAME community and we extend these commitments to all affected.
Andrew de Csilléry
Managing Director - Herts for Learning