I am pleased to write to you with details of how we will be celebrating Black History Month here at Heartlands. Though we are proud of how diverse and inclusive our curriculum is all year around, October provides an opportunity to bring black history to the forefront of what we do as a school and we are very excited about the steps we will be taking this October to celebrate.

The theme this year is ‘Actions not Words’, and staff and students will all be involved in a variety of activities and initiatives, which will take place both in and out of lessons. Over the coming fortnight, students will have the opportunity to design their own badges, which will all be rewarded by merits, and the winning design will be produced and given to students across the month. Next week (week beginning 3rd October), students will listen to assemblies presented by staff on the theme of ‘Actions Not Words’, and our curriculum offer will ensure that lessons are completely representative and inclusive in all subject areas. 

Our staff will be displaying posters on their doors of black British activists, sharing with students reasons why they have chosen these people, and encouraging discussions about their role in history. Equally, pupils will be given the opportunity to research black British activists and present to their tutor groups in vertical tutor time. Our librarian Mr Auerbach-George is also creating a Black History Month display in the library and setting pupils the challenge of reading the books and presenting facts they have learned to him, which will be rewarded with merits. 

We are also incredibly excited to be organising an event after school on Thursday 20th October 2022 for students and staff, which will provide a fantastic opportunity to celebrate black history. This will include food, art, fashion, dance, music and more. We will speak to students over the coming weeks with further details, and to ensure that they are as involved as possible in this event, from bringing in dishes to joining the school’s Djembe drumming club and performing at this event. Finally, our restaurant menus will change once per week across October to include a variety of foods, including jollof rice, Senegalese-style chicken, plantain as an accompanying dish and much more. This is in response to overwhelmingly positive pupil feedback from last year and we are excited to continue this initiative.

We have always celebrated Black History Month here at Heartlands, and this celebration is part of a much wider commitment that we have of diversifying our curriculum to ensure that it represents our multicultural school community. Last year, our History and English faculties worked in partnership with the Black Curriculum, a social enterprise that aims to deliver Black history across the UK. With their help, we were able to reflect on our current schemes of learning and change/adapt in line with their advice and guidance. 

Diversifying our curriculum is a long term, but essential project, and the rest of our curriculum leaders are excited about the changes they can make to our curriculum, and the impact this can have for our students. 

Please do email me if you have any suggestions on how we can make the event on 20th October as big as possible, and I would be happy to discuss this further. This may be through sending in dishes of food, supplying traditional dress to display, providing poetry and artwork to display or any other way in which we can celebrate black culture and history. Kind regards,

Mr P Anastasi

Assistant Headteacher Deputy Headteacher