A DORSET school saw thousands of students from around the country and abroad take part in the first ever national school conference on racism and inequality.

250 students attended the event at Lytchett Minster School which was broadcast live to 88 schools in the UK and some around the world.

The event entitled ‘Free and Equal?’ was organised by Dorset-based education company Beyond This and provided an opportunity for students and teachers to hear first-hand about the reality of growing up in the UK as a black, Asian or minority ethnic person.

Participants heard from speakers like Bournemouth surgeon Mukhtar Ahmad about his experiences in the NHS and how he has worked to establish a BAME network at the University Hospitals Trust.

Another highlight was keynote speaker Lee Lawrence. Lee was 11 years old when his mother Cherry Groce was shot in front of him by police officers in Brixton in 1985.

Bournemouth Echo: Speaker and campaigner Lee LawrenceSpeaker and campaigner Lee Lawrence

Lee spoke of his own journey in seeking justice and his work promoting different people and cultures coming together.

Beyond This founder Peter Radford said: “Our society is losing the ability to listen openly and dialogue with people who have a different experience to our own. Today was a chance to listen and recognise that we all have a part to play in building a fairer future.”

The conference was run in liaison with Amnesty International UK and Unicef UK’s rights respecting school award. It was sponsored by Dorset-based employability skills company the Young People Index.

One student said: “I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. The speakers brought such interesting perspectives and stories and spoke with such courage and passion. It was amazing.”