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School Removes Churchill and JK Rowling House Names in Diversity Push

The change was led by children who wanted to make the school houses more diverse (Picture: Google Streetview)

A primary school has dropped Winston Churchill and JK Rowling from its house names in a diversity drive ‘led by children’.

Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School in Richmond has renamed houses honouring Britain’s wartime leader and Harry Potter author after footballer Marcus Rashford and nurse Mary Seacole.

The school – which caters for young children aged three to 11 – announced the change in a newsletter to parents during Black History Month.

It said children had been keen to rename the houses and the changes were made after a school vote.

Churchill has been replaced by Marcus Rashford, who was recently made an MBE for his work to persuade the government to provide free school meals to vulnerable children during school holidays in the pandemic.

Rowling has been replaced by Mary Seacole, who worked as a nurse on the battlefields of the Crimean War, saving countless soliders’ lives.

The other schoolhouses, named after David Attenborough and Emeline Pankhurst have remained the same.

Churchill whose statue in Parliament Square was defaced during the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020, has been debated for his views on imperialism and race.

Winston Churchill’s views on race and imperialism have been called into question in recent months (Picture: Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

The school has ditched Rowling house in favour of Seacole house (Picture: NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Rowling has alienated scores of fans and been heavily criticised for her views on transgender rights.

In a newsletter to parents and carers on October 21, the primary school said: ‘The children across school have been keen to change some of the names of the school houses to be more diverse.

‘The JLT compiled a shortlist and the children have been involved in voting.

‘We are pleased to be able to announce the name changes during Black History Month. Churchill has been replaced by Rashford and Rowling by Seacole.’

Following reports of criticism, another newsletter to parents on Thursday added: ‘We have received only positive reactions from parents about the change to house names.

‘The change was entirely driven and led by our pupils and they feel proud of having effected this change and knowing their views were heard.’

Talented footballer Marcus Rashford was made an MBE for services to vulnerable children in the UK during the pandemic earlier this year (Picture: James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock)

British Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole helped save countless lives during the Crimean War (Picture: Universal History Archive/REX/Shutterstock)

The name change had initially ‘sparked outrage’ among some parents who thought Churchill and Rowling had been replaced because they are ‘deemed controversial figures’, Mail Online reported.

Alison Bateman, headteacher of Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School, said: ‘The changing of our school’s house names was an activity that our children began discussing last year as they did not feel the names reflected the diverse community of our school.

‘There was much discussion in classrooms before children voted for the names they wanted to change, and then the new names they wanted to use.

‘It is important to us that we reflect what is important to our pupils and their families, not just through their learning, but in the environment they learn in.

‘It is important that children’s’ voices are heard and this is why we supported their choice to have our house names reflect diversity, equality and the environment.

‘We have a lot of support from parents, some of whom have themselves challenged us in the past about the lack of diversity in the names.

‘We also have the full support of our Governors and the Diocese of Southwark.’

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