Sir John Cass’s Foundation and Redcoat school in Stepney Green to change its name over slave trader link

Sir John Cass Red Coat School, Stepney Way. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Sir John Cass Red Coat School, Stepney Way. Picture: Isabel Infantes - Credit: Archant

A school named after a slave trader is to change its name.

Sir John Cass’s Foundation and Redcoat secondary in Stepney Way, Stepney Green, is also to remove a statue and bust of Sir John Cass after consulting staff and pupils.

The announcement followed a meeting of the school’s governing body on Tuesday, June 16 where members voted unanimously for the immediate removal of the statue and bust of a slave trader widely recognised as a key figure in the slave trade’s development.

The second unanimous decision was that the school will be completely renamed.

The governing body said in a statement: “We recognise that the use of Sir John Cass’s name endorses this major figure in the early development of the slave trade.

“The use of his name is incompatible with our pledge to support the black community and our active commitment to oppose racism in all of its forms”.

The change is to come after further consultation with students, staff, governors and parents.

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“It will take time to find an appropriate new name for the school and we would ask for patience whilst this is being decided”, the statement ends.

The move follows an announcement by Sir John Cass’s Foundation on June 16 in which it confirmed it too would drop the name of a man whose wealth led to its establishment 300 years ago.

It also comes after statues were removed or toppled of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol and Robert Milligan in West India Quay in response to Black Lives Matter protests triggered by the death in police custody of George Floyd.