‘No institutional racism here’ says accused institution – case closed!
Over in Redfield is City Academy, a secondary school for 1,100 youngsters and one of the largest employers in East Bristol. Like the ward in which it sits, Easton – where up to 40% of residents are from Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds – it’s a diverse environment, both across the student body and in its staff.
So you would think that when a black worker complained of INSTITUTIONAL RACISM, a full and proper investigation would ensue – to weed out any racists, to ensure a better environment for pupils and adults alike, and to reassure local people that such prejudice would not be tolerated in the community’s school.
Well, think again. A staff member directly affected by what they considered racism wrote to colleagues asking them to come forward if they had any similar experience at the Academy.
Within minutes an email came down from the office of Gill Kelly, the Executive Principal. The message was clear: ‘there is no institutional racism at City Academy’, END OF DISCUSSION. So concluded the fastest investigation in living memory – the (white) headteacher had spoken, and so no further action was needed.
Meanwhile, Kelly was also undertaking a major restructuring, making MANY STAFF REDUNDANT thanks to budget cuts so deep the school’s ability to teach is threatened. Some affected had served the school for twenty years, going back to when it was state funded in the days before the One World Learning Trust was given responsibility to run it in 2003.
So staff decided to have a send-off for their ‘downsized’ colleagues, with nibbles in the school canteen after students had departed for the day. ‘Not on your nelly,’ said Kelly, who cancelled the party, just in case anyone mentioned the topics of racism or speedy investigations. And then she phoned in sick. She may well have been sick, but not half as sick as the staff are of her.
The employees being made redundant were then individually ‘helped’ off the premises in an attempt to segregate them from other staff members. What a way to treat people after years of service! Needless to say, they all met down the boozer anyway for a good chinwag…
Of course, the way senior management at City treats staff is no surprise to many workers, not least to those from nearby Bannerman Road primary, which ‘federated’ with the Academy last year in what was meant to be a partnership of equals. However, once the signatures were dry, the original agreement was IGNORED, and Kelly installed herself as line manager of Bannerman Road’s Ofsted-commended headteacher Paula Shore. And guess what? Shore is, yes, black.
Just because you are an academy, and answerable to nobody but your own board of directors, does not mean you can ignore the issue of institutional racism, or concerns of BME workers in our community’s school.
So conduct a proper investigation, you bastards!