Events over recent weeks, triggering protests across the USA and the world, have re-focused our attention in school on the issue of racism, prejudice and social injustice in society.
Discussion and attempts to understand the shocking killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis which led to protests and soul searching for people all around the world have been happening at various levels, amongst the SLT and teachers, in form times and assembly with groups of boys. Time and time again we refer to our community’s explicit values of endeavour, courage, community, humility and self-discipline.
The Hall is an inclusive community. We are proud of the diversity in our school and as part of our school values, we encourage our pupils and staff to respect, appreciate and celebrate differences. We work together to ensure that pupils and staff are able to learn and teach in a supportive, caring and safe environment without fear of being bullied and free from race discrimination and harassment. But we are not faultless and as an open, independent educational organisation we are able to adapt and confront prejudice – our own and others’. Our independence means we can challenge the status quo without fear and give a voice to alternatives.
Schools are at the heart of promoting equality and it is our responsibility to ensure that every member of our community feels enabled to achieve success irrespective of their race, gender, disability, religion or sexual orientation. We will not tolerate racism in any form, and we acknowledge the role that we can play in dismantling systemic racism. There is a lot that we already do within the school to support this but we know that we can always do more to live out our values. We are planning for ongoing self reflection.
A key element in building an understanding of a broad range of issues is our Life Skills provision which provides teaching, year on year, through a planned, spiral curriculum, rather than a reactive measure in response to events. Citizenship Education provides a space to explore topics in an age appropriate manner such as social justice, active and responsible citizenship, and the systemic aspects that can influence biases and stereotypes that reinforce, for example, institutional racism and white privilege. Our programme has been planned to deliver opportunities to provide anti-racism education at age and developmentally appropriate stages.
This year staff have received training from Diversity Role Models – their vision is of a world where everyone embraces diversity and can thrive. It is our aim to create a world where future generations embrace, accept and support difference which is why we created an Inclusion and Diversity Working Party initially with staff and from September to include pupils and parents. It is our mission at The Hall to create an environment in which every young person and adult will know they are valued and supported, whoever they are.
Let us hope that from this terrible event will come so much good. We need to be active in our determination to continue working together within our community for change. It will be important for all of us to listen and reflect. Let’s talk about racism with the people impacted and those that live more privileged existences in relation to race. Let’s continue to equip ourselves to understand and address the complex social issues at the heart of racism. An examination of social relations and entrenched institutional structures will involve us considering not just identity and psychology but the material and the social, too. We’re determined to provide education that helps each of us better understand the world, and take actions that challenge, unite, and inspire change amongst our community where needed.
If you would like to contribute or wish to be involved in how, as a community we address such issues in the future while seeking to answer the challenging questions that need to be asked at this specific time, please do contact me.