Bristol school founded by Edward Colston to be renamed despite 81% voting against any change
The change, which was announced on Tuesday, will be officially made in September
A school founded more than 300 years ago by slave trader Edward Colston is to be renamed “Collegiate”, its governors have announced.
The private school in Bristol, which was founded in 1710, announced in December last year it would be changing its name from Colston’s School.
On Tuesday, the school announced it had chosen the name Collegiate, or more formally “Collegiate School, Bristol”, out of hundreds of suggestions from students, parents, staff and alumni.
It will switch to its new name from September 2022.
The schools governors said Collegiate, which means a collection of colleges or campuses, was a “strong contender” because of the school’s history.
In 1991, the school merged with the Collegiate School in Winterbourne, becoming co-educational after nearly three centuries as a boys’ school.
For a time it was known as “Colston’s Collegiate”.
The school joins a number of Bristol institutions seeking to distance themselves from Mr Colston.
A statue of Mr Colston was pulled down by demonstrators in Bristol during a Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020 and dumped in the harbour.
The school's governors emphasised that the change of name was not an attempt to change or deny the school’s history and its links to the slave trade.
Nick Baker, chair of the school's board, said: “We believe it is important that students attending the school continue to be taught about the school’s history – specifically, Edward Colston’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
“In order to assist with this, some historical aspects of the school, for example the crest and motto, will be retained and explained, rather than removed.”
Head teacher Jeremy McCullough added: “Increasingly our student and parental body reflect the diverse nature of Bristol and we want to continue to work with our local communities in order to widen access to our school as much as possible.
“We believe that moving forwards with this new name will help us to become an ever more inclusive and welcoming community.”
A survey on whether the school’s name should be changed received more than 2,500 responses – including 1,096 from the general public.
A total of 81 percent of the members of the public who took part in the survey said the school should retain the name of Mr Colston’s.
But analysis of responses members the school’s community, such as pupils, alumni and staff, showed that they were more inclined to see a change in the name of the school as a positive step.
Referring to the choice of new name, Mr Baker said: “Collegiate not only represents the inclusive nature of the school, but the way in which the different sections of the school and the school community work together.
“Our nursery, junior school, senior school and sixth form all work together for the collective good, so too the school with our parents, former pupils and its wider community.”
In November 2020, Colston’s Girls’ School in Bristol announced it would become Montpelier High School after a vote with current students and staff.
Music venue Colston Hall is now named the Bristol Beacon, the Colston Tower is now the Beacon Tower, while a number of other monuments and streets may see their names changed.