I painted this portrait of George Floyd following the recent events in America. I felt very strongly about what had happened and wanted to express this injustice through art. I tried to highlight his last words “I can’t breathe” as these were so cruelly ignored by the police. 

 Year 8 Art Scholar Ananya Rammohan, May 2020

Croydon High School believes in the power of transformative action inspired by meaningful debate. In June 2020, following the killing of George Floyd in America, people across the world held governments and organisations to account in relation to policies and attitudes that lead to inequalities for black and other minority ethnic groups. The message, which we wholeheartedly endorse, is clear.

Racism cannot be tolerated. Black lives matter.

As a school, we are proud of our richly diverse community and we celebrate the talents, aspirations and individuality of every member of our student body in our school mantra, Every girl, every day.

We also recognise that there is much to do, globally, nationally and locally to ensure that deep seated and fundamental inequalities are addressed.

We believe that the best starting place is within ourselves as individuals and within our own school community. We openly acknowledge that we are at the early stages of a journey, which has been too much delayed and which now needs to be progressed with urgency and full commitment.

Whilst discussions along these lines have been happening for some time, the catalyst for renewed  action was obviously the events in the United States in 2020, and specifically the death of George Floyd.

More directly, they were in response to an open letter received on 9 June 2020, signed by a number of pupils, alumnae and parents, which called for action and review of the curriculum at Croydon High School

This letter can be read HERE

Our response to the letter, sent to signatories, pupils and parents on Tuesday 9 June 2020 can be read HERE.

On 9 June, in 1833, our founder Dorinda Neligan, a staunch suffragette and lifelong campaigner for equality, was born.

We can think of no better tribute to her memory than for us to launch on 9 June 2020, our statement of intent with regards to helping address racial inequality in our society.

This call to action prompted us to publish the following commitment, signed by the SLT, which was circulated to all staff with an invitation for them to sign it as well. This clarifies our aims and allows the whole community to engage with us and importantly, hold us to account as we seek to make progress.

Headmistress, Emma Pattison, with the support of her full Senior Leadership Team, commits the school to the following plan of action

  • To review our academic curriculum, across all key stages, with the goal of ensuring it is as richly diverse as the school body it serves.
  • To instigate a call for a fundamental review of the qualification system, involving examination boards and others in positions of educational influence, with the goal of positioning diversity at the heart of the process both in terms of examination curriculum and delivery.
  • To enable our student body to fully research, understand and raise awareness of the causes that matter to them, supported by appropriate resources, with time dedicated to informed discussion in both curricular and co-curricular environments.
  • To ensure our staff body is fully trained to meet the needs of all our students, from both an educational and pastoral perspective.
  • To continue to actively encourage recruitment of staff, invitation of external speakers and engagement with alumnae and other members of school community, who reflect both the aspirations and the diversity of the student body.
  • To actively seek involvement from those within the school community, staff, students, alumnae and parents, who wish to be involved in the process outlined above, to contribute to its evolution and to hold us to account as we seek to move forward.

The work involved in meeting these objectives is on-going and we remain committed to it. If you would like to discuss any aspect of this statement or to support our journey in any way, please contact Emma Pattison, via her PA at headmistress@cry.gdst.net

…the wellbeing of every young person comes first, and where every girl – no matter her background – can learn without limits

Croydon High School prides itself on being a diverse and tolerant community which is fully representative of our local area. The school is committed to ensuring that every member of that community is treated with fairness and with respect and strives to ensure that these characteristics underpin all that we do. Through staff training, PSHE lessons, co-curricular clubs and assemblies, we benefit from many different opportunities to inform ourselves and each other about the importance of embracing difference and respecting all cultures and lifestyles.

Our school policies reinforce our commitment to deal firmly with prejudice and discrimination and to ensure the school is a safe and happy environment for everybody to work and learn.

The GDST, led by CEO Cheryl Giovannoni, is championing a programme called ‘Undivided’ which is striving to address diversity, inclusion and real change within the education sector. To find out more, please visit the GDST’s web site here.

The principles underpinning the GDST’s Undivided Charter for Action is something that we have all as individual schools and indeed, as individuals, embraced and incorporated in to our own lives and interactions and we are proud to be part of such a forward thinking and reflective organisation.