A primary school headmaster who replaced house names honouring historical figures such as Lord Nelson with those of modern liberal campaigners idolised by the woke such as Greta Thunberg previously shared a ‘joke’ about Gavin Williamson’s severed head online.
Lee Hill condemned the ‘despicable deeds’ of ‘oppressive’ British heroes Sir Walter Raleigh, Admiral Nelson and Francis Drake and axed them from the house system at Howden Junior School in East Yorkshire after one former pupil complained.
He replaced their names with figures including footballer Marcus Rashford, who campaigned for free school meals, human rights activist Malala Yousafzai and US poet Amanda Gorman after a vote by pupils.
Mr Hill’s Twitter account shows he has been a vocal critic of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, previously describing the Cabinet minister a ‘coward,’ and a ‘bully’. And in one tweet he even shared another teacher’s joke calling for Tory MP’s head.
The meme showed a ‘no entry sign’ and warned people to ‘only interrupt me if you’re bringing me the vaccine’, ‘the head of Gavin Williamson’, or ‘chocolate’.
Mr Williamson has come under fire from teachers following the exam results fiasco last summer and confusion over whether it was safe for children to be in school during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Headteacher Lee Hill (pictured) praised the courage of the pupil who got in touch with him and credited her with teaching him about the history of the former house names at the school
Lee Hill joked he would send out a fake notice to staff that demanded ‘the head of Gavin Williamson. Mr Hill last week announced his school was changing the names of its houses after receiving a complaint from one former pupil
Mr Hill shared an impassioned email written by a former pupil that warned students were not aware of some of the actions of the former house namesakes.
Taking action, Mr Hill scrapped the names and let pupils decide who should replace them.
As well as environmental activist Greta Thunberg and footballer and poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford, Howden Junior School pupils chose American poet Amanda Gorman who read a piece at Joe Biden’s inauguration and human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.
Sharing the email on Twitter, Mr Hill wrote: ‘I’m really excited & proud to share this. Not just because of the individuals our School Council chose as representing our school community values or the incredible art from local artist Amy Smith but because of the courage of one child who made a stand.
Lee Hill condemned the ‘despicable deeds’ of ‘oppressive’ British heroes Sir Walter Raleigh, Admiral Nelson and Francis Drake and axed them from the house system at Howden Junior School in East Yorkshire after one former pupil complained
The email was sent by the pupil at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement which saw growing tensions about Britain’s colonial past, sparked by global outcry following the death of George Floyd in the US
‘During the Black Lives Matter protests, I received a passionate and brave email from a former pupil.
‘This pupil not only educated me about the history of the three house names – that sat on our website, in our hall and were raised as ambassadors for our school – but also explained the impact of seeing these figures – who have links to slavery, oppression and racism – had on her during her time at our school.
‘Not only a brave email to send to a white male in a position of power but also an email that set off a chain of events.’
The email was sent by the pupil at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement which saw growing tensions about Britain’s colonial past, sparked by global outcry following the death of George Floyd in the US.
The school will also name a house after Marcus Rashford who hit headlines for his anti-poverty campaigning and his efforts to encourage the Government to provide free school meals
Mr Hill shared the email he received from a former pupil, setting out the ‘despicable deeds,’ committed by Drake, Nelson and Raleigh
Floyd was killed when white police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds despite his desperate pleas that he ‘can’t breathe’. He passed out and later died in Minneapolis on May 25.
His death is seen as a symbol of systemic police brutality against African-Americans sparking outrage and largely peaceful protests first across the US before quickly spreading worldwide.
The email Mr Hill shared on Twitter read: ‘It has become abundantly clear that the pupils are not aware of what these men (Raleigh, Nelson and Drake) were involved in.
‘In English history, all three of them have been portrayed as admirable and courageous whilst their despicable deeds have been brushed under the carpet and certainly have not been discussed in the classroom.’
Mr Hill praised the efforts of former pupil Francesca, who he says educated her about the history of Admiral Nelson, Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake
The headteacher goes on to explain that the school had no ‘tangible reason’ to keep the historical names and that none of the pupils knew who they were as they were not part of the curriculum.
He said the students had chosen the new names based on the four individuals’ actions and ‘their impact on the world we share’.
He added: ‘We do not condone racism or any form of discrimination in our school but by doing nothing we were.
‘We were sending a message that it was part of our culture through our inaction – it was systemic and accepted. We had a responsibility to act.
Howden Junior School in East Yorkshire announced the new house names online this week
‘To Francesca, I want to say thank you for your courage – for making a stand, for being a role model to our school community and beyond.
‘For showing that each of our voice matter and that we can make a change for the better. You have taught me more than you can imagine.’
In October last year, a school in Bristol changed its name after a vote by students and staff.
Formerly known as Colston’s Girls’ School – after slave trader Edward Colston – the school is now known as Montpelier High School in an effort to ‘forge its own identity’.