An ongoing commitment to Diversity and Equality

People gathered in Minneapolis (Getty Images)

Members of our community will be aware that last year we published information and prompts for thought and reflection in the light of the death of George Floyd and the growing Black Lives Matter movement. We know that equality and diversity is a matter for all countries and nations; it has historic social, economic and political roots. The verdict delivered by the jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, last night confirmed that George Floyd’s death was murder and to many this judgement marks the start of an opportunity to understand and heal.

At Heathfield our reflections did not stop last year with the end of term. Our core beliefs:

  • Each individual is unique and matters, and that
  • We are all accountable for the responsibilities we hold

require us to maintain a vigilance of the experiences and opportunities for all our students.

We understand our responsibility to support all our students to be able to enter a multi-cultural and multi-racial world as young adults with understanding and knowledge that equips them to succeed. Equally that where possible and appropriate they are able to make the choice to be allies and advocates for those with less privilege in a myriad of possible interconnected ways.

Since last year we have:

  1. Held annual curriculum reviews between the Headteacher and Curriculum Leaders which have additionally explored the question: What support might you need reflecting on your curriculum planning in the light of race equality issues? Curriculum leaders outlined where issues of race equality or history are covered or are to be included, across both the intent and the delivery of their curriculum.
  2. Broadened our ongoing commitment to student’s cultural education through our tutor time and cultural calendar which has been expanded further in 2020-21 to include a range of spiritual voices from different backgrounds as well as deepening students experiences of a range of music from different genres and experiences.
  3. Deepened ongoing data analysis despite lockdown to ensure that students from BAME backgrounds (who now make up 7% of our student population) were not disproportionately affected by their pandemic experiences or that our structural systems of behaviour, attendance and rewards structures offered as much opportunity for success and recognition as for their peers.
  4. We have also sought to ensure parents are able to access school information in their home language. This is still a work in progress.
  5. Key staff have undertaken Race Equality training and are currently working to develop a roadmap to share with staff, governors, parents and students that will enhance understanding and develop additional structures or approaches required.

We know it is societal change that is required and that we need to play our part in the ongoing conversation. We are aiming to:

  1. Continue to ensure both our taught and wider curriculum, as well as our use of display and resources represents the world in which our students will live and work.
  2. Continue to analyse the experiences of and support for all our students to ensure equity and opportunity for all, not least by continuing to work towards and review the objectives set out in our Public Sector Duty statement, in the context of the 2010 Equalities Act.
  3. Develop increased awareness of and challenge of intentional and unintentional prejudice based on ignorance or misinformation both in and out of class as well as role modelling inclusive attitudes and behaviour.
  4. Seek to develop new roles and structures that help us all to understand each other’s experiences, share narratives and ensure we are maintaining the positive empathetic relationships that characterise Heathfield Community College at its best.

We are all human. We understand, as such, we will not always get things right and that we are all always learning. We believe strongly in the value of the ethos and culture that exists here at College and its power to support and develop brilliant young people who will be able to make a positive impact on the world. We remain committed to our role in enabling that work to be done.