Following a transparent consultation, Venturers Trust has announced that The Dolphin School in Montpelier will keep its name but change its emblem.
Pupils of the primary school in Montpelier helped to shape the consultation as part of their Curious-city curriculum. As well as hosting an online public survey, the school delivered a series of lessons and workshops for pupils focusing on the curriculum-based enquiry ‘What’s in a name?’; alongside interactive sessions for parents and carers to help stimulate discussion at home. The process concluded with a ballot amongst the immediate school community, with the questionnaire available in English, Sudanese and Somali.
From a combined total of 460 votes, made up of current pupils, parents/carers, staff and governors, 46% voted to keep the name and change the emblem, which was the majority vote of three options. The initial public survey came to the same conclusion, with 46% of 68 respondents also voting to change only the emblem, again the majority vote.
Kate Jenkins, Acting Principal, said: “The children have enjoyed exploring two sides of a story so deeply connected to Bristol. They know who Edward Colston was and where much of his wealth came from, but many had not made the connection between the dolphin on the Colston family crest and the name and emblem of our school.
“We looked at the significance of these through a different lens and the children were fascinated by the range of opinions. They expressed their owns views articulately and demonstrated a high level of respect when listening to the views of their peers.”
Chris Patterson, Chair of Governors, said: “We regularly review our curriculum to make sure that it’s relevant to the many cultures and faiths of our students and staff. For all pupils to have the same opportunity to succeed, they must be able to see themselves represented in different lessons and learn about role models they can identify with. As a school community, we have chosen to rebrand our identity to reflect our collective aspirations and values.”
Feedback from the survey included a strong feeling that the dolphin itself is a positive image that represents intelligence, curiosity, playfulness and harmony and that this is a positive association for the school.
After half term, pupils will begin to consider how the school’s identity might be reflected in a new emblem and a local artist will be commissioned to help bring that identity to life.
Gail Bragg, Chair of Trustees for Venturers Trust, said: “This has been an important journey for The Dolphin School community and the children have developed an important life skill in how to properly listen and be heard. I’m really impressed by the enthusiasm they have shown throughout the consultation process and the confidence they have demonstrated in asking questions and drawing their own conclusions. Our Trust-wide goal is for all children from all backgrounds to succeed and we must equip young people with the skills and confidence to make decisions and shape the future.”