Racism, homophobia and transphobia
We acknowledge that overt and covert racism still exists in schools, workplaces and other institutions and continues to be a source of anger and dismay for us all, requiring proactive attention and a dynamic response. Plans are being put into place to create a Diversity Team, made up of pupils and headed by our new Diversity Prefect, which will be able to advise on the experiences of pupils in the school, conduct research, and help create resources that can be used in school to tackle racism, and make the school as inclusive as possible.
The use of homophobic slurs or bullying or abuse based on someone’s gender or sexuality, (or perceived gender or sexuality) is not tolerated. Last year, 20 pupils across all Key Stages undertook training to become Rainbow Ambassadors. They aim to raise awareness of LGBT+ bullying, help deliver anti-bullying messages and advise on how the school can be more inclusive for those in the LGBT community. They shall pass on their training and knowledge to new Ambassadors next year.
We feel we have taken many steps in the right direction in recent years, including establishing the anonymous ‘Report a Concern’ page for reporting incidents (including racism, and other hateful and bullying behaviour); pupils are reminded about this on a regular basis. We also hold full and detailed pupil surveys (which address questions of pupil safety and equality) but we there is always more we can do, in particular by talking more to black and ethnic minority pupils about their experiences in the school and considering their recommendations at all levels.
An Ofsted visit in February 2020 indicated that “pupils are kind, considerate and have a keen sense of equality”. We believe this is true and it is a strong starting point for further improvement, but we are not at all complacent and continue to be highly self-critical in developing our policy and practice. In May 2021, we had planned to host our biennial mental health conference with delegates from schools the south-east of England, to address disparities in mental health treatment for children from BAME backgrounds in the UK. We are currently assessing a way to make alternate arrangements for this event, which was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Racism, homophobia and bullying are regularly subject to discussion by Key Stage Directors and the wider Learner Development Team and each year we revisit and develop our anti-bullying strategy in school and commit ourselves to further understanding how hateful attitudes and behaviour can be tackled in children and adults.