Agenda item - Public Involvement

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Agenda item

Public Involvement

To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:

 

(a)      Petitions: to receive any petitions presented to the full council or at the meeting itself;

 

(b)      Written Questions: to receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on 8 June 2021;

 

(c)      Deputations: to receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on 8 June 2021.

Minutes:

5a       Petitions

 

          School Places for Catchment Children – Item referred from Council Meeting, 25 March 2021

 

5.1      It was noted that the petition referred to above had been considered debated at and referred from the Council meeting held on 25 March 2021 and was set out at pages 29 – 34 of the agenda.

 

5.2      RESOLVED – That the contents of the petition be noted and received.

 

5b      Written Questions

 

5.3      There were none.

 

5c       Deputations

 

5.4      It was noted that two deputations had been received.

 

5c (i)  Climate Change and Plant Based Days in Schools – Referred from Council, 25 March 2021

 

5.5      It was noted that the deputation referred to above had been presented and referred from the meeting of Full Council held on 25 March 2021 and was set out at pages 35 – 38 of the agenda. The Chair explained that this item was covered by a report appearing elsewhere on the agenda and it was therefore recommended that the deputation be received and noted.

 

5.6      RESOLVED – That the contents of the deputation be noted and received.

 

5c (ii) Anti – Racism Schools Strategy

 

5.7      A deputation received from Mr Hart had been received and had been circulated as an addendum to the main agenda. Mr Hart was invited to address the Committee for five minutes in support of his deputation.

 

5.8      The Chair responded in the following terms:

 

“We apologise for our delay in response to your freedom of information request, it must be frustrating, but as it involves external providers we need to liaise with them and we will respond as soon as we are able to.

 

The council has pledged to be an anti-racist council with an immediate focus on addressing racial discrimination and disadvantage across all our public services and within our own organisation. The work is central to the council’s legal duties under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between communities, as well as to encourage civic engagement by under-represented groups.

 

As a council we believe that racism is not just the product of individual bias or prejudice, but something embedded in our systems which is why the rich, ethnic diversity in our city is not represented in council or teacher employees. Talking about systemic racism is not divisive, but racism is.

 

Our racial literacy training for schools explains that we are all one human race, and that race is a social construct used for example to justify slavery and the holocaust. By understanding the history of racism, we will equip school staff to take steps to prevent and mitigate the experiences of racism in our communities.

 

Critical race theory is our lens for developing our understanding of the complexities of racism and not an ideology. There is nothing in our strategy that aims to engender guilt or victimhood and the development of critical thinking skills is one element of our educational input.

 

Staff training is just one aspect of the anti-racist schools strategy. In the latest version of the strategy it is made clear that the local authority does not plan to make any training offered to schools mandatory, although schools will be encouraged to work in partnership with us under the strategy. Schools are also free to engage any training provider to deliver training to their staff in line with school values and policy. The provider they have chosen has delivered a lot of training for the council and in Brighton & Hove schools and has received positive feedback.

 

Children and Young People’s Committee voted not only in support of the draft strategy but also the Notice of Motion that it was derived from. Last summer nearly 2000 people signed a petition which was debated at council and which specifically highlighted the need for work in schools and it is my understanding that people who engaged with the strategy were overwhelmingly in support of it. Since the engagement activity changes have been made to ensure visibility of communities who are racialised as white but also experience racism (Jewish community, Gypsy Roma Traveller communities). So I do not take your criticism that the public would not support this work.

 

I’m really proud of the work we are doing in our schools to be anti-racist, and the wider work across the council.

 

We accept that as a council we have a lot to learn and a lot to do to prevent and mitigate against the racism that pupils, students and their families have told us happens in our schools. We are proud of how Brighton & Hove schools are engaging with us and leading on this complex work and hopeful that our approach will make a difference. We note that your Deputation does not provide us with any idea  of how we can respond to racism in Brighton.”

 

5.9      The Committee agreed to note the deputation response and that a copy of the response be provided to Mr Hart.

 

 

 

5.10    RESOLVED – That the deputation and response given to it be noted and received.

Supporting documents:

 


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