In the wake of the recent and ongoing protests around the world following the death of George Floyd, King’s has worked closely with student representatives to develop a number of initiatives to reflect the school’s commitment to challenging racism and discrimination in all forms.
Mr Hartley commented: “At the heart of my vision for the school is the phrase ‘every student known, valued and cared for’ which exemplifies the importance of inclusivity and tolerance of difference, as well as the importance of outstanding pastoral care.
“A key aim with regard to the curriculum over the last three years has been to ensure that it reflects the diversity of the world we live in as opposed to a default focus on the UK. I strongly believe that such ‘internalisation’ of the curriculum is essential in order to provide the most appropriate outlook and opportunities for King’s students going forward, in an increasingly globalised world.
“We want to add The King’s School’s voice to those opposing racism and discrimination of any kind and commit to us working collectively as a community to create a more tolerant and inclusive society for all.”
Our newly appointed Heads of School Team Mansi Gupta, George Arnold and Owen Reece-Jones were given the incredible opportunity of interviewing former England international John Barnes about his personal experience of racism and his view of the current protests and debates.
Other initiatives include:
• The instigation of a whole school curriculum review which will audit the content of all subjects taught to ensure that King’s pupils are educated comprehensively about the issues of racism and discrimination (both in their own right and via topical studies) and are made familiar with the lives and works of BAME individuals, both past and present, in order to understand such issues further and as an appropriate reflection of the rich and diverse culture of UK society
• A personal email from Mr Hartley all pupils and staff categorically re-affirming the school’s opposition to racism and discrimination of any kind, and committing the school to working together as a community to create a more tolerant and inclusive society for all.
• An assembly on the issues of racism, including the three new Heads of School, re-iterating the above and detailing what action the school will be taking going forward . Head of Infants and Juniors Mrs Ainsworth delivered a similar assembly to Junior School pupils.
• The provision of a comprehensive and accessible bank of resources by two volunteer members of staff on our virtual learning environment Firefly, which will continue to be regularly updated during the rest of term, and which pupils have been encouraged to access
• Tutor group discussions of the issues based around the assembly and information provided in the Firefly resources
Mr Hartley added: “Perhaps the most important thing I have personally learnt over the last few weeks is that we are all subject to pre-conceptions and unconscious bias with regard to discrimination, partly through our education but also more generally via our upbringing, and that it is essential we all continuously question and challenge such pre-conceptions through greater self-reflection and open and honest conversations with others.
“This is something we are strongly encouraging current pupils to do. I would therefore urge us all, as a school community including its alumni, to reflect on this carefully so we can all work together to create a more inclusive, tolerant, mutually respectful and fair society for all.”