News / schools

Dolphin School begins name change consultation

By martin booth, Thursday Sep 17, 2020

Pupils at a Bristol primary school named after a symbol closely associated with Edward Colston have been having “healthy discussion and debate” as the school begins a process to possibly change its name.

The Dolphin School in Montpelier is now inviting members of the community to share their views with the school by taking part in an online questionnaire.

Children will learn about Colston’s role in the transatlantic slave trade, with the results of the questionnaire used to develop a series of lessons designed to encourage pupils to consider the views of others and then to support or challenge those views.

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In October, the current students, staff, parents and carers, and governors of The Dolphin School will each cast a vote to decide whether or not the school should change its name.

Dolphins surround the plinth in Bristol city centre that held Colston’s statue until it was pulled down in June. They allude to the dolphin who supposedly saved one of his ships by plugging a leak, with the Dolphin Society set up as a charitable organisation in 1749.

Dolphins surround Colston’s empty plinth – photo by Martin Booth

“Since returning to school, the children have been learning about healthy discussion and debate and how there are often many sides to a story,” said acting principal, Kate Jenkins.

“The name of our school and our emblem are linked to Edward Colston, and for too long Bristol recognised his philanthropy with the absence of any real awareness of where much of his wealth came from.

“It’s important that pupils in school learn about both sides of a story that is so deeply woven into the history of our city.”

Chair of Governors, Chris Patterson, added: “Through this consultation process, pupils will develop their understanding of democracy and by putting this into practice, they will be part of shaping the future of our school.”

The Dolphin School is part of Venturers Trust, which is sponsored by the Society of Merchant Venturers and the University of Bristol – photo: Broxap

Main photo by Martin Booth

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