Diversity and Equality Update
In mid-June the High Master chaired a meeting of the initial Working Group on Diversity and Equality, comprising members of staff, pupils and OPs. Its purpose was to scope, prioritise and set time frames for key areas of action on diversity and equality issues over the next two academic years. It considered feedback, suggestions and offers of help from the community, and also suggestions from the latest meeting of the school’s extant pupil/staff equality discussion group.
Three general points emerged. The first is that the recent BLM movement is a catalyst for accelerating action in SPS on increasing awareness and promoting understanding of issues of diversity and equality. This includes issues of class, as well as colour, sexuality, faith and gender. The second is that while many current Paulines recognise the existing opportunities to engage with diversity and equality issues, the majority do not yet regard these as an integral part of their lives. This gap needs bridging. Finally, diversity and equality issues should become part of the fabric of a Pauline education rather than as ‘standalone’ or occasional issues.
The Group produced an action plan that was approved by the Executive and received by the Governing Body. The new High Master, Sally Anne Huang, has seen the action plan and is committed to adapting it and driving it forward. Areas for action include: extension of unconscious bias training for all staff, and appropriate age-specific workshops for pupils; generating opportunities for mentoring of pupils; diversifying the curriculum through academic lessons, PSCHE and co-curricular activities and speakers; promoting and monitoring applications for teaching posts from candidates from more diverse backgrounds; and promoting greater diversity (women, BAME, LGBT+) on the Board of Governors, amongst others.
The Governing Body set increasing the awareness of equality and diversity in a Pauline education as a whole school objective for 2020-1. At its meeting in late June, the Governing Body instructed that progress against the action plan will be a standing item on its agenda throughout 2020-1.
To read the school’s previous statements regarding Black Lives Matter, please click here