Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

Posted on: 02/12/2022

Diversity is about recognising, respecting and celebrating difference. It’s acknowledging the benefit of having a range of perspectives in decision-making and the workforce being representative of the communities that the School serves.

Equality means that everyone is treated the same, is treated fairly and has the same opportunities. Equity is slightly different from equality in that it recognises that each person has different circumstances. This means that varying types or levels of support might be required, depending on individual need, to take full advantage of equal opportunities.

Inclusion is where people’s differences are valued and used to enable everyone to thrive at work. An inclusive working/learning environment is one in which everyone feels that they belong without having to conform, that their contribution matters and they are able to perform to their full potential, no matter their background, identity or circumstances.

We are very proud here at St. Helen’s College to have such a diverse and inclusive community.  This week we celebrated the start of the Christian celebration of Advent and the pupils have been very excited for the beginning of this special time of year.  It has been clear in Upper School assemblies that they are also very aware of the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas and not just obsessed with the commercial aspect of receiving presents on Christmas Day or daily chocolates in their advent calendar. 

Our Lower School pupils have given us so much joy already this week with their Year 1 and Reception Nativity Assemblies.  Each child owned their part and they have certainly understood and communicated the Christmas story and traditions of Christmas. 

Jeremy Vine’s radio show this week had a discussion piece on how many primary schools were becoming non-religious and the decline in the number of schools with Christian principles. I was interested to listen to the discussion but felt such a sense of pride in St. Helen’s College’s approach. We are so inclusive of all religions but retain our strong school values rooted in Christian principles. As parents you all support this and I hope that you also feel that your faiths and religions are included in our school life and recognised in many ways. 

Religious beliefs are only one aspect of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI). Only a couple of weeks ago Mrs. Briggs, our DEI aspect lead, presented to our Education Committee all the wonderful activities and work going on here at school to ensure that we are fulfilling our responsibilities. We are always learning about each other and we have a vibrant and supportive staff, parent and pupil body. 

Throughout the school our staff plan lessons and activities within and outside of the curriculum which take the following aspects into account.

  • Race and diversity.

  • Religion.

  • Disability.

  • Relationships.

  • Gender.

  • Sustainability. 

All of these opportunities allow the children to be prepared for their futures in order for them to contribute to society as well rounded, kind and empathetic individuals. 

I am sure that many of you were aware of the sad news that Doddie Weir, who suffered from Motor Neurone disease, died earlier this week. Tonight Rob Burrows, who also has MND, will be the first non-verbal person to read the bedtime story on CBBC using special technology.  I urge you to watch this with your children tonight if possible (the link is here). This is another chance to open up discussions about how we are all different and to encourage acceptance of this fact. 

Pupils in Upper School recently met Mrs. Briggs' cousin, Jamie Beddard, who has cerebral palsy, in an assembly. I am sure that many of your children spoke to you about this inspirational gentleman who has not allowed his disability to stop him in his acting and directing career. Indeed, his disability has also opened up many other opportunities for him to bring about change.

There is so much for us all to learn and share on DEI but I will end my blog with a quote from the late Doddie Weir from 2019 when he was awarded the Sports Personality of the Year.

“Enjoy the day because you don't know what happens tomorrow.”

Happy weekend everyone!

Ms Drummond