George Watson - what next?

George Watson - what next?

Published on 3 May 2021

As we continue our discussions and understanding of the legacy of George Watson, we would like to share our discussion paper George Watson - What Next?. The paper and questionnaire present our latest findings and research and pose a series of questions that will help to develop our ideas. 

The consciousness of so many people around the world, including in the Watson’s community, was galvanised last summer by the killing of George Floyd and in its aftermath, we have set out our aspiration that Watson’s should unequivocally become a community in which racism would find no place.

During Session 2020/21 we have made progress on many fronts:

  • In March we held a symposium called “George Watson and his Contexts” involving staff, pupils, academics and other members of our Watson’s community to discuss the legacy of George Watson in the light of new evidence of his involvement with the trade in enslaved African people. Further research into the history of George Watson, although hampered by the closure of archives due to the pandemic, has established an initial picture of Watson’s involvement with this abhorrent trade.

  • We have begun the process of establishing an up to date and effective suite of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies that go further than mandating our compliance with statutory obligations but which connect with our values and our ambitions for our pupils and our wider community. These policies will drive better, more inclusive and enlightened practice throughout our school and will be completed for approval by Governing Council next term.

  • A programme of anti-racist education started with the support of our partners at Intercultural Youth Scotland. Central to the development of this programme has been the insight given by the lived experience of our BAME/BPOC pupils.

  • We have begun the process of interrogating our curriculum and other practices to identify how we can make it more inclusive, respectful and relevant to our pupils whose lives are lived in an increasingly diverse society.

  • The Watsonian community has embraced the challenge to recognise diversity and has welcomed and facilitated the establishment of a Watsonian BAME Section, open to all Watsonians but with the specific role of providing a voice for BAME Watsonians and supporting current BAME/BPOC pupils.

  • Archival research has enabled us to establish more about the history of BAME pupils at Watson’s during the twentieth century and to celebrate some of their remarkable achievements for the first time.

Please read the discussion paper below and respond directly or by using our online questionnaire at www.gwc.org.uk/whatnext