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  • Writer's pictureHarris Academy Peckham

In Support of Blackout Tuesday

Over recent weeks we have seen systemic racial injustice manifest itself in incidents in America, in particular the tragic murders of George Floyd and Armaud Arbery.

Whilst this ongoing issue causes particular pain for many black members of our community at Harris Academy Peckham, those who are white or from other BAME backgrounds are also deeply hurt.

At Harris Academy Peckham, we are immensely proud of our beautifully diverse demographic and wish to offer some gestures of solidarity. As an Academy, we are already in the process of ensuring that the curriculum we offer addresses the heritage of our BAME community, both across subject areas and within our SMSC (Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural) curriculum.

In addition, we have produced the following set of resources for our students and familes that they may wish to use, and we thought we'd share them here too. This includes a series of renowned historians, philosophers and writers who have contributed to the discussion on racial injustice.

The British rapper and activist Akala shares with us some less-exposed features about black history in his talk at Oxford University.

To celebrate BAME authors, here is a list of winners of the Corretta King Scott Book Award that you can share with you child/ward. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.

The British Ghanaian philosopher Anthony Appiah explores how racial identities have been socially constructed in his Reith lectures talk.

We have some fascinating reflections on James Baldwin’s work about the complexity of black identity in this podcast from The Partially Examined Life, a philosophy podcast.

Poet Benjamin Zephaniah and MP David Lammy, amongst other intellects, debate the extent to which people are judged by the colour of their skin or the content of their character. Click here to listen.

Ava Du Vernay breaks down the history of racism in America in her film 13th, which is available on Netflix.

Peggy Macintosh explains with empathy and aplomb the meaning of “white privilege” .

Listen to this podcast on white privilege from The Partially Examined Life, a philosophy podcast.

Challenging the status quo

We are an organisation that exists to challenge the status quo, to ensure that the type of children who usually get a raw deal have a fair chance. This has never been more of a challenge than now, with the global pandemic hitting the poorest the hardest. The country is braced for a recession and, with many job losses inevitable, we are in no doubt that BAME communities will suffer again.

Our staff are angered by injustice and inequality, and we are using our anger, in the best way we know how, to help our pupils disrupt the odds that are stacked against them. This is, of course, through the provision of a brilliant education. Pupils of all backgrounds make better academic progress at Harris than their peers do nationally, with our black pupils doing substantially better.

In secondary school, the national statistics show that black boys make negative progress between years 7 and 11, ending up, on average, with worse outcomes than they should have done given their starting points. At Harris, not only do black boys make positive progress (with a Progress 8 score of +0.25), they also make better progress than all pupils nationally.

In Harris primaries too, our black pupils not only outperform other black pupils nationally on every key measure, they also comfortably outperform national averages. This academic success is echoed across pupils of every race, gender and background in the Harris Federation.


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