Sunday, 20 March 2016

Elstree UTC: School appoints Head who admits to calling his friends ‘nigger.’

I'm not sure what passes these days for the required level of qualifications necessary to become a head teacher, but I would have thought that one of the most essential characteristics ought to be to treat everyone fairly. 

Certainly multicultural competence and ability to understand the sensitivities in relation to diverse pupil populations would be essential

So you can imagine my surprise when a teacher who has publicly stated that it is perfectly acceptable to call his black friends, "nigger” is appointed Head of a school. If that’s not bad enough, it gets worse because just such a man has been ‘appointed’ Head at one of the worst performing schools in the country.

Mr Chris Mitchell Headmaster Elstree UTC 
University Technical College (UTC) Elstree is in Borenhamwood, Hertfordshire and is part of The Mellor Educational Trust, whose head offices are in Milbank Tower South London.  

A parent, who did not want to be named to protect his own son still at the school, had read my original article on this debacle. He contacted me to say they were disgusted by his appointment.

When I read the letter to parents I was flabbergasted. Its is beyond understanding that a person who says its fine to call black people “niggers” and who was part of the Senior Management Team at Elstree UTC, that was rubbished by Ofstead, and rated as one of the worst performing schools in the UK, can then go on to be appointed Head teacher!”

He continued,

The Governors have let down the pupils and the parents. UTC Elstree needed a fresh start, not fresh controversy.”

The teacher in question is Mr Chris Mitchell who was Acting Principal and was now been appointed head teacher against the backdrop of a raging controversy.

Mr Mitchell personally supported an UTC Elstree Art teacher Mr Ferguson, where he targeted the only black boy in his class by asking him,

"How would you feel if I called you nigger?”

Mr Mitchell, responding to the complaints of a handful of black and white pupils defend Mr.Ferguson’s use of the word ‘nigger’ and old the students that he uses the word all the time to refer to his black friends.

This is, of course, entirely unacceptable. Since these revelations were made on this blog, the school has maintained and an undignified radio silence, refusing to comment on an issue that has huge implications for the teaching environment of pupils and the working environment of black teachers at the school.

My information is the school is a hotbed of opposition to Mr. Mitchell’s appointment. Pupils at the school are sharing information published by this blog through social media. The senior management team has become deeply paranoid about any discussion relating to these issues. This must have a hugely negative effect on the quality of the teaching environment within the school.

The Board of Governors have appointed a man whose teaching skills and ethical judgments ought to disqualify him from the position of head teacher.

Instead, the governors have not only chosen to ignore this crisis, but have gone on to appoint Mr. Mitchell as Head, with a blatant and dangerous disregard for the considerations of parents, black pupils, teachers or the public reputation of the school.

I do not believe that Mr Mitchell or indeed any teacher using the word ‘nigger’ in everyday conversation, who under strong challenge, then subsequently refuses to apologise for offence, in the face of challenges by both black and white pupils, cannot be considered a fit and proper person to become a head teacher of any British school.

I’d go further and say no parent of a black or ethnic minority child should consider sending their child to this school or keeping them in such as school, whilst Mr Mitchel is head,

That's why today I'm launching a petition calling on the Board of Governors to immediately rescind Mr Mitchell's appointment as head teacher, with immediate effect. I believe, if this appointment is allowed to stand, then racism will no longer be considered unacceptable and pupils will be left vulnerable to routine racial abuse and oppression in schools. 

I'm seeking broad support from all of those people who believe its unreasonable for UTC Elstree to appoint as head. a teacher who refuses to apologise, for using a racially derogatory term and then has the gall to then tell young people, why its entirely acceptable for him to use such a term, as form of endearment.

I say it’s entirely unacceptable. I hope you do too.

Over the coming weeks I will publish more stories on Elstree UTC. Stay tuned and stay awoke.