Bucks New University inspires Cressex pupils with Black History Month event
Pupils leave session feeling empowered and wanting to make a difference in their community
Buckinghamshire New University staff visited Cressex Community School to educate year 10 pupils about Black History Month and discuss how they can challenge racism.
A four-person Bucks’ panel covered a range of issues, including the impact of George Floyd’s death, the Black Lives Matter movement, and how to overcome fears of being from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background and associated under-expectations. They also shared their experiences of navigating the workplace as Black staff members throughout their careers.
The pupils at the High Wycombe secondary school, in Holmers Lane, asked a range of questions to the panel in a 90-minute session that ended with students signing their own pledges on how they would work towards equality going forward.
The pledges included commitments to: “work alongside people no matter what their appearance or culture is”; to “make a difference in our community and be a voice for others; and to “educate my future family about problems they may face and help them to deal with them”.
The session was part of Bucks New University’s widening participation outreach programme which aims to inspire learning in the local community. The University is a member of the Cressex Co-operative Learning Trust and works in partnership with other local organisations such as Buckinghamshire Council to support the school in raising attainment and widening opportunities for Cressex pupils.
The Bucks’ panel included: Sophia James, Head of Home Recruitment and Widening Participating Outreach; Sharon James, HR Learning and Development Coordinator; Mary Mosoeunyane, Senior Lecturer in Bioscience Studies; Earlroy Edwards, Senior Lecturer in Child Nursing; and Sasha Leek, Widening Participation Officer.
Reflecting on the event, Sophia James said: “The Black History Month discussion at Cressex Community School was an outstanding event. It was a pleasure to hear from the experiences of their students and have them ask such insightful and articulate questions about race and ethnicity and the challenges BAME people can face in our society. I am hopeful for the future that if we can replicate that level of debate and understanding throughout society, we can truly make progress on race equality.”
David Hood, Cressex Community School’s Headteacher, added: “Our students left this inspiring event with a better understanding both of the challenges faced by many and that we can all help break down barriers to make a real difference in society.”
Full list of pupil pledges
- “I strongly enjoyed this session as it empowers me to overcome racism and social barriers in society.”
- “I loved hearing about real life experiences that will help me in the future.”
- “I enjoyed talking and debating about aspects that might occur now or in the future which in my opinion is very important to learn and know.”
- “We can make a difference in our community and I want to be a voice for others. I want to be a psychiatrist, rich and famous and use my platform.”
- “I wish to be an aerospace engineer and to work alongside people no matter what their appearance or culture is, judging just by skill.”
- “I will make sure I educate my future family about problems they may face and help them to deal with them.”
- “I pledge not to be afraid of achieving my goals in life and to celebrate my skin colour.”