Anti-racism Statement of Intent
The Oasis logo, the ‘circle of inclusion’, symbolises our inclusive ethos. It demands that we do better and do more to break the cycle of racial prejudice and institutional inequality which is endemic in our society. We know that we have an important part to play in dismantling the systems that create and sustain discrimination wherever they exist within Oasis and within society.
We are a community transformation movement and organisation made up of many thousands of students, residents, community members, staff, volunteers and activists, and our ethos is a commitment to achieving radical inclusion, justice, and equity. As a movement, large employer, family of schools, and provider of community and housing services, we know we must use our voice together to speak out proactively for a more just and inclusive world.
In who we are and in what we do, we seek to be inclusive of all – people of all faiths (and none), disabilities, class, economic means, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. This is rooted in a deep understanding of our Christian story, that God is love, does not discriminate, but views all of us as different but equal, with rich diversity, and with equal value.
Our vision and our responsibility is therefore not simply to be non-racist, but to become actively and visibly anti-racist. We must work against the multidimensional injustices of racism, promote values of equality, equity, and social justice, challenge the power of oppression, provide equitable opportunities for all people on an individual and systemic level, and make sure that any marginalised groups have representation and are able to influence decision-making through everything that we do. We have to ensure that every Oasis space – every school, home, community programme or global campaign – is safe for all, is built on a culture of inclusion and creates room for open and honest conversation, where we listen to one another and where we hear all voices.
Our plan of action
We recognise that words are not enough on their own and actions speak louder than words. We acknowledge where we need to make changes – the need to listen to, hear and value all voices within our movement; the need to remove any overt and subtle systems that reduce opportunity or act as barriers to achievement, leadership, or service; and the need to ensure we are an organisation and movement that is continually learning how to become ever more inclusive. We therefore commit to take action in the following areas and through our Break the Cycle campaign (this is not an exhaustive list and simply represents the areas that we are working towards to becoming an anti-racist organisation):
Culture and learning
We will learn together about identity, inclusion, bias, racism and becoming anti-oppressive. In particular we will educate and equip people across our movement to understand our core story of inclusion and justice and to change culture by putting this story into practice. We will embed development opportunities that promote understanding of identity, cultural competence, constructive dialogue, and anti-oppressive practice based around our in-depth and unique character formation approach, the Oasis 9 Habits. We will encourage all those who are part of the Oasis movement to take individual responsibility for their actions and learning, as well as committing to make change together.
We will build systems to ensure that all voices are listened to and heard, and that we can engage in respectful, open, and honest dialogue together. In particular we will actively encourage the development of integrated and creative staff networks across our entire education, community, housing, and justice teams; we are developing a community movement forum made up of volunteers, parents, residents, and community members which will meet regularly with our Boards and senior staff team; and we will develop rich opportunities for youth voice and activism. We will develop approaches that increase diversity and representation at all levels and particularly in decision making spaces. We will actively create opportunities for overlapping forms of inclusion (e.g., anti-racism, anti-homophobia, gender equality) to be better understood and integrated.
We will learn together and reflect on the context of the communities we work within and alongside, ensuring that we become reflective of the people and communities that we serve. We also recognise the critical importance of diversity, and we will look to go further than representation, ensuring that everyone has opportunity to participate and lead in any context. Diversity and celebrating difference will be a core element of our understanding and work. We will collect data about the makeup of our communities, the groups that we serve and our staff, to understand whether we are representative and if not, why not. We have established a One Oasis Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Forum to shape our overall approach and to hold us accountable. We are also developing a range of working groups in the different parts of Oasis to ensure that we take action. As part of our broad commitment to anti-racism, we will continue to build our innovative Break the Cycle network, which partners with thousands of teachers, schools, and youth workers around the UK as we seek to play our part in influencing the entire education and youth sector to develop inclusive and anti-racist practices.
Language and communication
We will seek to use language well, recognising that it can be divisive and offensive when used without thought and care. Because of our ethos that prioritises identity and belonging, we will always look to engage with people as people, rather than labelling or categorising. We will make every effort to use clear and active language to describe the changes that we wish to see in terms of racial justice. We will also review our publications, storytelling, fundraising and campaigning to ensure that we are not stereotyping or removing dignity and agency from people.
We will review and where necessary change our internal practices and procedures to ensure we are consistent, fair, and open at all stages of people’s employment with us. In particular we will consider where and how we advertise jobs, how we recruit to posts, and how we create opportunity for progression and pathways to leadership. We are working to develop the UK’s first Inclusive Initial Teacher Training scheme to proactively develop a more diverse workforce across the education sector and at all levels of leadership within Oasis Academies.
As a schools and skills provider, we recognise the critical responsibility that we have to the children and young people that we serve. We will continue to proactively build a school experience and curriculum/ support programmes that support all children and young people to become people of good character who are active and inclusive. We will also review and where necessary change our curriculum and skills programmes to ensure that they are infused with the Oasis ethos and are balanced, representative, honest and reflective. In addition, we will ensure that within our curriculum/ programmes we are not creating or sustaining a culture that stems from colonialism or systems of oppression. We will build on our unique and inclusive character education programme, the Oasis 9 Habits, and the innovative and nationally recognised anti-racist curriculum design, implementation, and training that takes place through Oasis Academy MediaCityUK and across our family of academies.
Policy and practice
We will review our policy and procedures, ensuring that they always operate through a culture of inclusion, equity, anti-oppressive practice, and anti-racism, dismantling any overt, inadvertent or subtle systems that create or sustain discrimination.
On an annual basis, we will review and measure our progress against these commitments across the entire movement – our education, housing, justice, and community work. We will do this through the learning and accountability structure we are building across our movement including staff networks, Break the Cycle groups, our community movement forum, working groups in various parts of the Oasis family, and our culture forum – in order that we act, listen, and learn together.
We recognise this work is essential for us to live up to our mission and vision as we build communities where everyone is included, makes their unique contribution, and can reach their God-given potential. We still have work to do, but we commit ourselves again to this vital task.