The board of trustees at Colston’s Girls’ School have agreed to change the school's name despite the majority in a public vote asking to keep it the same.
An online public survey received 454 responses of which 63% (286) respondents said no, the school should not change its name.
However the opinion of students and staff fared differently and 75% of them voted in favour of changing the name. A decision supported unanimously by the Board of Venturers Trust.
We will not be erasing the history of CGS, it is a part of Bristol’s story which is now an integral and permanent part of the curriculum. However, the school will be forging a new identity that represents its diverse and inclusive community and this is the momentous beginning of a new chapter.
As well as a public survey, students collated interviews with leading Bristol figures ahead of the vote.
The Principal of CGS, Kerry McCullagh, says she's been impressed by how the students genuinely welcomed all opinions so those who wanted to keep the name could do so without judgement.
“The entire process has been positive and perfectly illustrates the inspiring qualities of our compelling students. These are difficult conversations with strong views on both sides and the classroom has provided a safe space in which to explore complex issues. Students were encouraged to seek and understand the views of others and not just to make themselves heard, which is a really valuable life skill.”
The school was established in 1891, 170 years after the death of Edward Colston.
The building of CGS was funded with money Colston had endowed to support education and the school was therefore named after him.
The venue formerly known as Colston Hall has recently been renamed as Bristol Beacon as momentum has grown in recent years to acknowledge the slave trader's history with the city.
Students will now develop a list of potential names to be review by the board. It's expected a new name will be revealed by the end of October.