The Royal Hospital School (RHS) has been named as East Anglia’s Stephen Lawrence Ambassador School.
The award was bestowed by the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust in recognition of the Suffolk school having demonstrated a community commitment to five key behaviours challenging racism and supporting diversity and inclusion.
RHS’ curriculum has been focusing on these areas throughout the year, while in Lent term a religion and society module looking at prejudice and discrimination examined how the Stephen Lawrence case was a pivotal force for change.
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Eighteen-year-old Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racist attack in 1993. A public inquiry into the ensuing, deeply flawed police investigation, led to the publication of the influential Macpherson Report – of its 70 recommendations, 67 led to specific changes in practice or law within two years.
Stuart Lawrence, Stephen’s brother, visited the school in 2019 to discuss his sibling’s legacy, and had been due to return in May.
The original visit made quite an impact, with the head of sociology praising “Stuart’s honesty in talking about the impact of the death of his brother, with the focus on living our best life and making a positive contribution.
“Stuart was just so earnest in being reflective and also demonstrating that he can move forward in the face of what was a shocking injustice.”
Several initiatives have been earmarked for delivery once RHS is back in session, including:
- Regular pupil, staff and community talks on related issues in chapel
- CCF training sessions to cadets regarding efforts to address racism in the forces
- Equality and Diversity Committee raising awareness in boarding houses
- Geography focus on BAME, including urban structure/layout and links to architecture
- A ‘walk a mile against racism’ or similar activity at sports day
- A series of debates focusing on challenging topics in society and raising awareness of diversity
“As a Stephen Lawrence Ambassador School, we play an important role in ensuring the messages of diversity and inclusion go beyond a slogan and are intrinsic to not only our own school’s day-to-day ethos but also to schools across the country and beyond,” said head of religious studies at RHS, Kellyanne O’Callaghan.
“We want to be instrumental in a movement of schools working to create positive change and support pupils to live their best life.”