During a recent visit by guest speaker, Jemma Roye, pupils and staff across the Senior School were urged to consider how, as a community and as individuals, we approach and tackle racism.

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Jemma, a qualified QTS and trained diversity consultant, founded Let’s Start a Conversation to equip young people to start and continue powerful conversations on diversity, inclusion and representation. Talking about her experiences, she said: “For a long time, parents, students and educators have felt that the British national curriculum is not as ethnically representative as it should be. This initiative stems from a sincere passion to make a difference in the lives of young people, and to help equip the next generation to go into a diverse world as people of understanding, respect and confidence.

“Our aim is to support young people to develop appreciation and awareness of others in an informed and considered way. The idea is to provide a safe and educated space to explore important topics not mandatory on the curriculum but essential for life outside of it.”

Emphasising why this type of hard-hitting exercise is important to the College, Principal Louise North commented: ”We are delighted to welcome Jemma Roye from Let’s Start a Conversation to Framlingham College. Our recent Equity, Diversity and Inclusion audit told us that there is a desire to explore issues such as racism with our pupils. Jemma has quite literally started a conversation within Framlingham College about what racism is, what its pernicious impact can be and why it is so important to be an upstander and not a bystander when racist micro-aggressions occur. This is just the start of our conversations around this hugely important issue. At Framlingham College we are preparing our young people to be global citizens in their adult world. What better way to do this than to encourage open and honest discussion on one of society’s biggest issues?”

The training the pupils and staff received worked through three core areas:

  • Exploring Identity, Race and Ethnicity
  • Understanding Racism and Discrimination
  • Celebrating Diversity

Whilst for many the session was clearly thought-provoking, and at some points uncomfortable, for the majority of pupils the session was extremely eye opening. Year 12 pupil, Luisa S defined the workshop as hugely influential, saying: “Learning about racism is greatly important, especially for our generation who might not be able to identify it during everyday life. Learning about micro-racism is essential to actually making a difference and learning kindness to improve our modern society.”

Fellow Year 12 pupil, Tom A also found the workshop beneficial, adding: “During the talk, we were taught ways people should accept each other’s difference and how this can allow society to be more equal. She [Jemma] showed us ways in which we can help and improve the stigma that is around racism so that it is talked about freely without people being scared of saying the wrong thing.”

Paddy F said: “I thought the talk was educational, eye-opening and interesting. It was nice to listen more about these kinds of subjects because throughout my life, I don’t think I’ve been educated about sensitive subjects like I was on the day. The facts and thoughts really broadened my mind so I could see a different perspective other than my own.”

His sentiments were echoed by Year 10 pupil, Harry C, who commented: “We looked at racism in ways that we haven’t before and explored the different vocabulary that defines racism. We were shown examples of micro-aggression which made us look at racism in different ways. The overall feeling was that we learnt to understand and act against it, how to react and not judge a book by its cover.”

Where Next?