By Guy Taylor, Investigations Correspondent.
Colston’s Girls’ School, named after the slave trader Edward Colston, has rebranded itself as Montpelier High School.
The change to its name came after a major consultation with staff, students, parents and members of the public last month.
The Venturers Trust, the board which runs the school in the Montpelier neighbourhood of Bristol, shortlisted three names: Montpelier, Liberty and Concordia.
The votes are in, and @celebrating_cgs is now... Montpelier High School, a name that locates the school and identifies with its diverse and inclusive community. Congratulations to staff and students for navigating a difficult course with dignity and respect for others.— Society of Merchant Venturers (@SMVBristol) November 6, 2020
Students and staff were also able to vote for three different suffixes, either ‘College’ ‘School’ or ‘High School.’
62% of students and staff voted to change the school's name to Montpelier.
The school held a virtual assembly, in which Principal Kerry McCullagh said that they had ‘navigated a complex and emotional issue with skill and maturity.’
There will be a transition period before the name is changed, with the rebrand expected to be complete in September 2021.
The Venturers trust held a separate, public survey, in which 68% of people voted to keep the name. However, the board decided a name change was appropriate after a clear result from the ‘school community vote.’
Discussing the process, Gail Bragg, the Chair of Venturers Trust said that it had ‘provided a unique opportunity for students to experience democracy first-hand.’
She tweeted that she was ‘incredibly proud of [the] students who have shown maturity and sensitivity in developing and delivering the consultation.’
The school was initially founded in 1891, with endowments from the slave trader and philanthropist Edward Colston. The decision comes in the context of a summer of protests against institutional racism in the UK, in which Edward Colston’s involvement in the city was heavily criticised.
Other establishments, named after Colston, have also undergone rebrands. Most notably, Colston Hall, the Grade II listed concert venue, which in September was renamed to Bristol Beacon.
Featured Image: Epigram / Edward Deacon
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