‘Don’t scapegoat Norwich School for racism’

Linda Nnene, a parent at Norwich School, has called on other schools to look at their policies to ta

Linda Nnene, a parent at Norwich School, has called on other schools to look at their policies to tackle racism. Photo: Linda Nnene - Credit: Archant

OPINION: As a parent and black woman, who has had a son graduate from the Norwich School and a daughter who has been attending the school for ten years, I was saddened to read some of the experiences of students in the EDP article about racism.

Norwich School parent Linda Nnene (inset) says the school should not be "scapegoated" over racism. P

Norwich School parent Linda Nnene (inset) says the school should not be "scapegoated" over racism. Picture: Archant/Linda Nnene - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Our children go to school to learn, not to be abused.

Many students have called for teachers to be trained in ‘everyday racism’, but parents also have a role to play. As my son wrote some time ago in his blog, no one is born a bigot, it is taught.

Norwich School apologised and the headmaster Steffan Griffiths said they are making changes.

Indeed the school has begun these changes. Let us make no mistake it will take some time and it is a continual process.

More than 250 current and former pupils have signed a letter calling on the school to act against ra

More than 250 current and former pupils have signed a letter calling on the school to act against racism. Photo: Norwich School - Credit: Archant

I am proud to be a Norwich School parent and I was taken aback at the comments made on social media after the EDP published its article.


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It is easy to scapegoat the school. It is easy to take on the role on social media of a social justice warrior.

But correcting racism is not about people jumping on some bandwagon and feeling good about writing comments.

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It is about admitting there is a problem and then working to undo it, like Norwich School.

Linda's daughter, Alice, invited Baroness Doreen Lawrence to speak at Norwich School in February. Pi

Linda's daughter, Alice, invited Baroness Doreen Lawrence to speak at Norwich School in February. Picture: Hannah Hutchins - Credit: Hannah Hutchins

It is about fixing the system that supports racism. I am hoping other schools in this county will look at what Norwich School has begun and emulate it.

All school practices must change. The problem is not exclusive to Norwich School.

If I had a choice to choose a school again for my children, I would still choose Norwich School.

Quite frankly I am very much aware of schools that have done worse and still do.

Steffan Griffiths, headmaster at Norwich School, said the school was addressing racism. Photo: Norwi

Steffan Griffiths, headmaster at Norwich School, said the school was addressing racism. Photo: Norwich School - Credit: Submitted

The energy that continues to be used in insulting Norwich School should be used constructively towards the Academy trusts that run Norfolk schools, our workplaces, local MPs and the government.

If you feel so strongly about modern racism go forth and do the right thing.

Many schools have been quiet in Norfolk. These schools cannot say they are immune to the problems black school students and working adults face with racism.

After all, the county council recently stated in the EDP that in 2018/19 there were 467 race related reports in schools. These figures become a tick box exercise when nothing is done about them.

The number of academy trusts running Norfolk schools has increased in the last few years, but the structural and recruitment practices remain the same.

These schools do not appoint black people to any senior positions so of course the black students will most certainly feel on their own.

Let no one say that perhaps there are no suitably qualified black teachers in Norfolk because there are.

There is no hiding place anymore for these trusts.

Norwich as a city is becoming a more diverse place. Perhaps these schools also need to reflect on their structure and training of their own staff.

When you remain silent you are part of the problem.

•Linda Nnene is a teacher in Norfolk and parent at Norwich School

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