The headteacher at London’s Pimlico Academy has been at the centre of attention since a large group of students decided to stage a protest over an allegedly ‘racist’ uniform policy.
After anti-flag graffiti appeared on the school walls over the weekend saying ‘Ain’t no black in the Union Jack’, the headteacher has agreed to take down the Union flag.
Further concessions have been made to those protesting, Pimlico Academy made changes after Mr Smith’s arrival last September included banning hairstyles that ‘block people’s view’ and hijabs that are ‘too colourful’, however these will now be overturned.
The outrage over the allegedly ‘racist’ policies extended to include other areas of the school, including changes to the history curriculum to make it more chronological, which protesters said emphasised white kings and queens over BAME figures.
In a previous incident, the British flag was removed and burnt by pupils in September 2020 before it was put back up.
Over the weekend, graffiti appeared reading: ‘Ain’t no black in the Union Jack’ and ‘White schools for brown kids are u mad’ and ‘Pimlico Academy…run by racists…for profit’.
Today, Conservative MP Bob Blackman told journalists the situation at the school is ‘bizarre’ and taking down the union flag is ‘ridiculous’.
He said: “There are things where there could be room for manoeuvre if they have got recalcitrant children… but to back down over flying the union flag is totally unacceptable. It is totally unacceptable to have a position whereby the flag of our country is not allowed to fly above public buildings.”
The school’s headmaster Daniel Smith has now acquiesced to some of the pupils’ demands and in a bazaar turn of events even praised protesters.
He said in a statement: ‘The right to protest is a civil liberty which, in the United Kingdom, we all enjoy, one that was hard fought-for and which not everyone in the world is fortunate to have.
‘Our students are bright, courageous, intelligent young people, passionate about the things that matter to them and acutely attuned to injustice. I admire them hugely for this though I regret that it came to this.’
He added: ‘The issue of the flying of the Union flag was discussed at length. We acknowledge that this symbol is a powerful one which evokes often intense reactions. We have listened to the concerns of students, parents and the wider community about it.
‘After Easter, we will conduct a review of this and, as part of that, consult with all the academy’s stakeholders to elicit their feedback. In the meantime, and until that review is concluded, the Union flag will not be flown at the academy.’
He goes on: ‘Sixth Form student representatives raised concerns about certain aspects of the academy’s Uniform Policy. I was able to reassure students that their previous representations on these points had been the motivation for reflection which, in turn, resulted in revision to the relevant polices taking place. These redrafted policies are the ones I shared with you this morning and remain available to download below.’
Editor-in-Chief | Carl D. Pearson has been involved in British politics and media from an early age, with the key knowledge of what it takes to run a news organisation for the 21st century. Mr Pearson, as Editor-in-chief, is responsible for supervising the daily tasks of publishing media and content to UNN’s website and various platforms.