Equality, Equity and Diversity
When we think back to this time last year, as schools went into the first COVID lockdown, very few members of our school would have been able to articulate a definition of such words as micro-aggression, unconscious bias and cisgender.
What a difference a year makes! Over the course of the last year, Chancellor’s has undertaken something of a mini-revolution in how it addresses equality, equity and diversity (EED) across our entire school community.
Unlike many institutions, who treat diversity with lip service and ‘themed’ events that hint at awareness of key issues without actually addressing the real situations in their communities, we have taken a forthright and forensic approach to promoting equality, ensuring equity and celebrating diversity. Crucially much of our work has been led by our students, firstly our Sixth Formers who initially challenged us to explore micro-aggressions within our local community and more recently, our whole-school staff and student working parties, who are collaborating to raise awareness across a number of different platforms, such as race, gender, sexuality and disability.
Already this year we have successfully promoted a ‘cultural calendar’, celebrating different aspects of our school diversity through form period activities, weekly lock screens, library reading recommendations and presentations, newsletter and bulletin articles and physical displays. Black History Month in October served as an opportunity to improve our community’s race literacy, while whole school surveys helped us to understand the day-to-day challenges that different members of our school community face in relation to race. A highlight of our programme was a thought-provoking whole staff INSET on micro-aggressions and diversity awareness. The EED working party hasn’t let school closure hinder our efforts and we have sought many opportunities to promote LGBT+ history month this February, work which will be ongoing in upcoming weeks.
Yet we are not satisfied that we have simply raised awareness and promoted the education of our school community. Our next phase of work is building on these strong foundations to establish a robust and resilient EED legacy across the school. To this end, we are working with our brilliant students to create an ‘EED Charter’, our expectations of a rights respecting community to be observed by anyone belonging to or joining our school. Furthermore, we are challenging our subject leads, as they reflect on their curriculum planning, to identify where they can fully embed Creators, Perspectives, Content and Visuals in their schemes of learning. Following a thought-provoking letter sent to the government and examination bodies over Summer, one member of our team has been invited by Edexcel to contribute to making the English GCSE specification more diverse. On a pastoral level, we are looking into further tackling period poverty and providing extra channels of communication to capture the school experience of all our students. As we welcome the construction of our new Maths and PE block, we are exploring requisitioning a vacated space for a reflection and wellbeing room for all students. We continue, wherever possible, to engage with local diversity organisations and are creating a monthly vlog to record the ongoing work we are doing. We are very excited that our work has caught the attention of one of our local MPs, and look forward to welcoming him to our school when the opportunity arises to share our substantial work.
This is a never-ending programme, that can and should always be enriched and enhanced, but, with a fantastically committed team of students and staff on board, we can be confident we are already beginning to make a tangible and sustainable difference.
This page of the website will be populated with examples of our work as time goes by and we look forward to sharing our experience with you.
Jonathan Huddleston - Deputy Headteacher