'I want to be treated fairly': Students say Manchester school turns blind eye to racism

Students at a school in Manchester say they are continuing to experience racism from fellow pupils and staff members despite raising their concerns a year ago.

Pupils at Wright Robinson College in Gorton claimed black students were labelled as 'gangs', punished harsher than their white counterparts, and not listened to when they felt they had something to say.

Now, a year later, even more students and parents are speaking up, saying that the college allows racist language to go unpunished, while highlighting that the previous issues have not been addressed.

Kids of Colour, a charity that supports young people of colour to find their voice, have been working with parents and students from the college.

They say there needs to be "a completely independent review done by an organisation that is competent in racial literacy and understanding how racism manifests in a school setting".

The school say their policies have been reviewed by the charity Stop Hate UK and say they are listening to the views of the young people.

Credit: ITV News

Amy is a student at Wright Robinson, her name has been changed to protect her identity.

She says she is not treated the same as white students.

She said: "I want to be treated fairly and the same as they would for any other white student, I don't see why my ethnicity should affect my learning.

"They have also been turning a blind eye to white students saying the n-word repeatedly, making racist jokes, I'm just disgusted that that would happen especially in a school where there is so much diversity."

Nova, not her real name, has a child who attends Wright Robinson College.

She said: "Your school experience can shape the rest of your life, these kids should feel safe, they should feel like they've got a voice, they should feel like if there is something wrong they could raise it."

She added that the good grades, outstanding Ofsted report, and friendly environment led to sending her child there - but that quickly changed.

She said: "It started to change pretty much from the day my child started at the school.

"It's a really hard school to actually ever be able to speak to a real person about any issue at all and it became clear actually very quickly that it wasn't as shiny and lovely as it seemed on the open day."

Aisha Obo was one of the students who first spoke out in 2020.

Aisha Obo was one of the students who first spoke out.

She said: "They posted a performative black square, we thought it was a bit ironic that they were posting it because they allowed students to say the n-word and when students tried to complain about it nothing would be done.

"They've allowed several times white students to get away with stuff that black students would not be able to get away with."

Wright Robinson College in Gorton Credit: ITV News

In response to the allegations a spokesperson for Wright Robinson College says it welcomes "any conversations that support our school to be a place where positive and healthy relationships continue to flourish."

It added: "When the issues that you are raising were first put to us well over a year ago, and reported extensively in the media at that time, we reviewed all aspects of our school to look at what more we could do to enhance our community - particularly in relation to issues of inclusion, diversity and equality.

“The policies that underpin all our approaches, for example, have all been reviewed in depth by Stop Hate UK, which is a nationally recognised charity that was established to support victims of racial harassment.

"A full review of our curriculum was undertaken, and we have worked closely with our student council, of which 70% are students from ethnic minorities, to listen to the views of our young people.

“All our behaviour data shows that there is no bias in how positive behaviour is rewarded, and negative behaviour is challenged. In the published parent data, consistently over 97% of our parents say that their child is happy and feels safe in our school. A similar figure feel that concerns are dealt with properly.

“In addition, you only need to look around the school to see that suggestions about issues linked to hair colour and hair styles are not accurate.

“What we are acutely aware of, however, is that there is always more that we can do. You only have to see some of the reactions to recent sporting events to know that as a society we still have some significant progress to make.

"What we can say, however, is that if there is any incident of a racist nature in our school then the ramifications are serious, and we are heartened when young people make their voice heard if they feel that the school’s inclusive values are not being meet.

“We will continue to strive to get the very best for all of our students – and promote a culture where our students’ rich academic successes are supported by an environment where equality and diversity is championed.”