Recent global events have served as a very important reminder of the role we have to play as educators in shaping current and future generations.  They also remind us that we have to listen and learn in order to understand and look at ways we can do things differently.

 

At Shrewsbury High School we aim to nurture the values of kindness, tolerance and respect and we challenge our students to stand up and speak out when they see injustice of any kind – hoping our students can be a force for good in society and bring about positive change. We want to ensure Shrewsbury High is a place in which students feel comfortable about speaking up and raising issues, confident they will be listened to.

We strive to be an inclusive environment in which the wellbeing of every young person comes first, and where every student – no matter their background – can learn without limits.

We aim to empower young people who demand equality and we are proud that our students are passionate about the Black Lives Matter movement.  Therefore, we are putting our student voice to the fore of our response.

We are committed to bringing about real transformation and we will continue to actively engage with our students on these important matters.  We will also work towards longer term change, including consideration of curriculum content to ensure that change is meaningful and sustainable.

As part of the Girls’ Day School Trust we uphold the values of the GDST Charter for Action where all students, staff, alumnae and parents have the opportunity to influence and contribute to GDST goals and commitments.  Read more about Undivided, the GDST’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and real change here: GDST Undivided

You can read more about this from the CEO of the GDST Cheryl Giovanonni at https://www.gdst.net/about-us/diversity-inclusion-meaningful-change/

We would like to thank members of the school community, including alumnae, who have taken the time to share their own thoughts and experiences of racial discrimination.

At Shrewsbury High, our position on racism, and any type of prejudice or discrimination is clear, it is one of zero tolerance and we seek to engender proactive anti-discrimination.

 

What have we been doing?

From our initial conversations with students last year, we have started not only our Diversity and Inclusion committee to make sure that there is a platform for student voices, but also looked at a school action plan which includes a discussion on staff recruitment, appropriate pastoral support, our first student led Black Lives Matter group and staff training.

The staff working party –“US” – has been formed to encourage and debate curriculum offers; a key academic aspect of this has been the History review led by Miss Davies. Discussion on student belonging and identity was highlighted from our GDST student survey, and since then our focus groups and school council have started to discuss this and the impact we can have as a community as the legacy of coronavirus hopefully recedes.

Our LGBTQ+ speaker in the Spring term provided an excellent spring board for conversations around gender, identity and rights, and also our SHS podcast for the Shrewsbury festival. The more that we talk, learn and advocate, the more we feel we can challenge inequality when we experience this. Staff training on Unconscious Bias for example, has provided a way to open up dialogue on our practice and to discuss allyship and advocacy.

We also have student representatives from our junior and senior school who join fellow GDST students on the Trust wide Undivided Committees.  Read more about their experiences here: Diversity and Inclusion at SHS

We have more to do, but we are making a start. As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know betterdo better.”