Our core values at Phoenix are: Equality, Autonomy, Collaboration, Agency, and Authenticity. They are also the values that we would like to see underpin the education system as a whole. Through Freedom To Learn, our commitment is to work together for greater freedom and social justice in education. Interpersonal and systemic racism within schools and the education system creates intolerable barriers and harm to young BAME people. We know racist biases in the curriculum, in policies, in pedagogy, and in practice, result in unjust and misguided social norms and values. We believe that white, patriarchal, supremacist culture, reinforced and exacerbated by organisational and policy hierarchies in school, combined with an absence of robust structures and culture for normalising student autonomy, agency and voice, undermines the UNCRC and perpetuates racism and inequality. We know as an organisation that we have our own work to do make sure we are working in as anti-racist a way as possible, and are committed to learning and doing more and better. We stand together in solidarity and support with students, teachers, and education activists who are doing anti-racist work and making changes to their schools and the education system.
For more information and insight into racism in schools and the education system in England:
“60% of UK school staff reported they had witnessed racist bullying” – Lola Okolosie https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/31/racial-abuse-playground-schools-racism “schools are unfairly punishing black students for their hairstyles, wearing bandanas and kissing teeth” due to racial bias and a general lack of understanding. But the inequality doesn’t stop there.
As revealed some years ago by the Department for Education, black Caribbean children, in particular, are three and a half times more likely to be excluded than all other children at primary, secondary and special schools.” - Kuba Shand-Baptiste https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/school-racism-black-students-exclusions-hair-kiss-teeth-a9280296.html
"Ruby told Radio 1 Newsbeat she wants UK schools to have "better guidelines on their uniform policy so that people can't be discriminated against when they're walking into school".” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-45521094
“Black and ethnic minority teachers in British schools are subject to “deep-rooted, endemic and institutionalised racism”, an extensive new report has warned.” https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/bme-teachers-racism-uk-schools-black-minority-ethnic-education-nasuwt-runneymede-trust-a7827131.html
“There are many schoolteachers and headteachers working to decolonise their classroom/ subject area/ school, but they are isolated, underrepresented in management structures and un-celebrated. This conference is an invitation to come together, to share knowledge and to be part of a movement for change.” https://meetingofmindsuk.uk/events/teaching-the-truth-decolonising-education/