London school drops Churchill and JK Rowling house names in diversity drive

18 November 2021, 17:59

Holy Trinity CE Primary has dropped Winston Churchill and J.K. Rowling's names from its school houses.
Holy Trinity CE Primary has dropped Winston Churchill and J.K. Rowling's names from its school houses. Picture: Alamy

By James Morris

A London primary school has dropped Winston Churchill and J.K. Rowling from its house names after pupils wanted to increase its diversity.

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Holy Trinity CE Primary School, in Richmond, has replaced the Churchill house name with that of school meal campaigner and England footballer Marcus Rashford, who received an MBE earlier this month.

The Rowling house name, meanwhile, has been replaced with Mary Seacole, the nurse who helped wounded British soldiers back to health during the Crimean War in the 19th century, and is considered one of the greatest Britons.

The changes were announced last month as part of Black History Month, following a vote by pupils.

In a newsletter to parents on 21 October, the 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 Churchill has been replaced by Rashford and Rowling by Seacole."

The status of wartime prime minister Mr Churchill in modern day public life – due to his comments on race – has regularly been brought into question since last summer's Black Lives Matter protests.

He is considered one of the greatest ever Britons by some, but remains a controversial figure among others.

Harry Potter author Ms Rowling, meanwhile, has been heavily criticised for her views on transgender issues.

Read more: School refuses to serve food to pupils whose meal account is more than a penny in debt

Read more: Revealed: 90% of Tories who made £1.3m from second jobs voted against free school meals

One parent told MailOnline that "a lot of us are quite shocked that the school authorities have decided that the contributions of Churchill and Rowling deserve to be erased from the records... presumably this has happened party due to the supposed thoughtcrimes committed by these two national figures".

LBC has contacted the school for comment, but headteacher Alison Bateman, speaking to MailOnline, reiterated the decision was taken at a vote among pupils.

Ms Bateman added "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".