The only primary school in the Square Mile is changing its name after revelations about its founder’s links to the slave trade. Sir John Cass was an alderman, sheriff and MP for the City and founded a school for boys and girls in 1710. The Black Lives Matter movement shone a...
The only primary school in the Square Mile is changing its name after revelations about its founder’s links to the slave trade.
Sir John Cass was an alderman, sheriff and MP for the City and founded a school for boys and girls in 1710.
The Black Lives Matter movement shone a spotlight on the way he built his fortune from the spoils of slavery.
As a result, Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School – ranked ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted – is now set to change its name.
Sir John Cass Redcoat School, a secondary in Tower Hamlets, will also be renamed Stepney All Saints C of E Secondary School.
A bust and statue of Sir John were removed from the primary school back in June when his links to the slave trade were revealed.
Sir John served on committees of The Royal African Company which traded in slaves. He signed detailed instructions setting out how much food enslaved people and the crew should get, and made money from bonds in the company.
The primary school named after him has a 300-year-old history and is the only state-funded school in the Square Mile.
The school’s chair of governors, Matt Pipe, said: “Governors have been horrified to learn that much of Sir John Cass’s wealth was derived from human exploitation.
“To retain these links with our founder would have been incompatible with our school’s vision and with the outstanding education it offers every child in our multicultural community.”
Writing on the school’s website Mr Pipe said: “The school is extremely ambitious for its pupils and offers a broad subject-based curriculum. Its children predominantly come from the local community, one which is both ethnically and socio-economically diverse.”
The governing body asked parents and pupils what they thought the school should be called and proposed changing it to The Aldgate Church of England School.
It has yet to formally announce the new name and governors were due to make a final decision in July.
They said the proposed name reflected the school’s location and values.
At the end of last term, parents were told that a new school uniform with new logo would not be ready by September. Instead they were advised to buy plain blue jumpers and cardigans from the school outfitters and add the new logo later.
Meanwhile, the Sir John Cass Foundation, which supports the primary school, has also told the Charities Commission it wants to change its name.
It said: “Changing our name is important, not solely so we stop applauding our founder. It is important that individuals, organisations, and businesses not only feel good about being associated with the Foundation, but actively seek out a relationship with us. “
It said the new name must be “compelling and true to the vision and goals of the Foundation. It must enable us to continue our vital work; dedicated to educational projects to challenge and eradicate racism, discrimination, and inequality.”
The City of London Corporation, which funds Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School, was appraoched for comment but did not respond.