Headteacher’s Letter – 17.06.20
17th June 2020
I am writing to you with an update following the meeting of the school’s governing body last night. Following consultation with students and staff, the Governing Body took two important decisions.
Firstly, it voted unanimously for the immediate removal of the statue and bust of Sir John Cass which are on the school premises. The second unanimous decision was that the school will be completely renamed.
The Governing Body of the school has issued the following statement:
“Following consultation with our students and staff, the Governing Body met on Tuesday 16 June and took two important decisions. Firstly, it voted unanimously for the immediate removal of the statue and bust of Sir John Cass which are on the school premises.
The second unanimous decision was that the school will be completely renamed.
We recognise that the use of Sir John Cass’ name endorses this major figure in the early development of the slave trade. The use of his name is incompatible with our pledge to support the black community and our active commitment to oppose racism in all of its forms.
The school name will change in consultation with our students, staff, governors and parents. It will take time to find an appropriate new name for the school and we would ask for patience whilst this is being decided.”
Sir John Cass’s Foundation has also issued a statement regarding its commitment to changing its name:
“It is clear to us now, that while firmly committed to combating racism, we failed to consider whether our own 300-year-old name and history compounded the problem. We have also continued to celebrate Sir John Cass without explaining or acknowledging his connection to slavery and human exploitation, or the hurt and anger this has caused amongst our beneficiaries and our community. We recognise, acknowledge, seek to understand, and apologise, for the public hurt and anger.
We want our beneficiaries to be proud to benefit from the opportunities that our grants provide. So let us be clear: we no longer consider the Sir John Cass name appropriate to represent us and the work that we do in this century or in the future. We commit to a change of name.
It is important to us that our new name reflects our beliefs and charitable work, and will remain relevant through the next 300 years. We therefore ask for your patience in the coming weeks while Trustees, partners, and stakeholders, consult on the name and then undertake the legal applications to officially change our name as a charity.
Above all, we remain dedicated to educational projects to challenge and eradicate racism, discrimination and inequality. We welcome these major steps we are taking to evolve while we continue to serve our beneficiaries, changing their lives for the better and enabling them to benefit from the excellent projects and schemes our partners provide.”
This statement can also be viewed on the Sir John Cass’s Foundation website https://sirjohncassfoundation.com/our-commitment-to-a-change-of-name-2/
It is important now that we begin a period of collaboration to decide on a new name for our school. This will involve discussion with yourselves, our students, staff and governors. It is important that we move swiftly but it will take a little time for us to complete this process so please bear with us.
I want to take this opportunity to assure you that you that the school will ensure you do not incur any extra expense as a result of the name change, particularly with regard to the purchase of uniforms or any other such item.
I want to thank you for your support over recent days. I am proud to lead this wonderful school, proud of our students and how well they achieve. We should all be proud of our school.
Mr P Woods