Black History Month at Central Foundation Girls’ School

Inspired by 2021’s theme #proudtobe, this year Black History Month at CFGS has taken on a local theme. Aimed at helping our students to be proud of their heritage and their neighbourhoods, we are highlighting anti-racist work in our borough, starting with East London’s Rock Against Racism which took place in Victoria Park in the 70s.

We wanted to promote allyship, solidarity and collaboration this year and so decided on a cross-curricular approach with a plan to host our very own CFGS Rock Against Racism Festival. We are determined that our anti-racist work is not confined to a Black History Month ‘performance’ and our festival is designed to shine a light on the issues we are already working on and want to continue to work on all year round.

History will kickstart our Rock Against Racism extravaganza with a bespoke lesson teaching our students of the pride they can take in Tower Hamlets’ contribution to the anti-racist movement. This will be followed up with English lessons teaching rap beats and spoken work poetry with a recital to be held over the school tanoy system, making sure everyone gets to hear.

The Library are hosting a poetry competition celebrating black achievement with the winning lyrics set to tunes with the help of our Music department culminating in a year 8 performance at our festival. Students who borrow books written by black authors will be given celebratory bookmarks in the Library.

Art will host an exhibition of students’ work inspired the projects they will run on black artists. Students will create vlogs and posters in Media explaining and promoting our event. Our Film Club will show movies which promote solidarity and allyship such as The Hate You Give and Hidden Figures. Our student group the Diversity Ambassadors will host assemblies for the whole school and are running three competitions.

This passionate and energetic student group in collaboration with our teacher-led Diversity Teaching and Learning Community work hard all year to create a pro-actively anti-racist environment at CFGS and ongoing projects this year are a diversity curriculum map, a survey into the experience of black students and teachers at our school, a drive to decolonize the curriculum with the English and History departments making thoughtful changes to both the way they teach existing lessons such as introducing a lesson on black Victorians for our A Christmas Carol unit but also bringing in new schemes of work for instance on the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in history or Anita and Me the play by Tanika Gupta our first Bangladeshi author on the curriculum in English. We are Proud to Be developing our anti-racist work, proud to showcase our work during Black History Month and determined that it continues throughout the year.

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