The school drops the names of Winston Churchill and JK Rowling to be more “diverse”


The names of World War II leader Sir Winston Churchill Britains and Harry Potter author JK Rowling were removed from the homes of a London primary school in an attempt to be “more diverse”.

The homes of Holy Trinity Church of England primary school in Richmond have been replaced by Man United footballer Marcus Rashford, who received an MBE after campaigning for free school dinners to be extended during the pandemic, and the nurse Mary Seacole – a British Jamaican healer who set up the British Hotel behind the lines during the Crimean War.

A newsletter announced the name changes during Black History Month after it said children wanted to rename some of the schools.

Churchill was replaced by Rashford and Rowling by Seacole after a vote, the school said.

The other two house names – Attenborough and Pankhurst – remain.

The degradation of Sir Winston’s statue in Parliament Square last year sparked a debate over the former prime minister’s views on imperialism and race.

Meanwhile, Rowling has drawn criticism for her views on transgender rights.

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In an October 21 newsletter to parents and guardians, the elementary school said, “The children at the school were keen to change some of the names of the schools to make them more diverse.

“The JLT compiled a shortlist and the children participated in the vote.

“We are delighted to be able to announce the name changes during Black History Month. Churchill was replaced by Rashford and Rowling by Seacole.

Following criticism, another newsletter to parents and carers added on Thursday: “We have only received positive feedback from parents about the renaming of the houses.

“The change has been entirely driven and led by our students and they are proud to have made this change and to know that their views have been heard.”

Alison Bateman, Principal of Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School, said: “Changing the names of houses in our school was an activity our children started discussing last year because they didn’t think the names reflected the diverse community of our school.

“There was a lot of discussion in the classrooms before the kids voted for the names they wanted to change and then for the new names they wanted to use.

“It is important for us to reflect what is important to our students and their families, not only through their learning, but in the environment in which they learn.

“It is important that children’s voices are heard and that is why we have supported their choice to ensure that the names of our homes reflect diversity, equality and the environment.

“We have a lot of support from parents, some of whom have challenged us in the past about the lack of diversity in names. We also have the full support of our Governors and the Diocese of Southwark. “

Additional Reports Press Association.


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