Last school year we spent the first term engaged in a school wide consultation to develop our strategic outlook - to sign-post key strategic developments we wished to meet over the coming 2-3 years. This was ratified by the Board in January and included a commitment ‘To assess and renew the intentional creation of an equitable, inclusive and diverse community.’
Also last school year, we began the process of reviewing and questioning our curriculum; to be sure that we deliver a curriculum that is strengthened by a diversity of perspectives, interests, and identities. We understand that by engaging with diverse ideas, perspectives, cultures, and people, our school creates the conditions for meaningful change, both personally and socially. To diversify our curriculum - every learning moment, every day - we should be able to learn and teach so as to ‘acknowledge the variety of characteristics and categories of identity that make people unique, including but not limited to, physical, social, and other characteristics (such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, socioeconomic status, age, physical, mental and learning abilities, religious beliefs, and political beliefs).’ (Facing History and Ourselves*, 2020).
We are also questioning every other area of our school operations - governance, admissions, human resources, community engagement, and finance and facilities - to understand how we might better reflect the diversity of the world around us. We are pleased to be able to share with you that we have active working groups in each of these key places, and we would also like to invite current and alumni parents, and alumni students to be involved in these projects, especially if you feel that you have some relevant expertise to support us. We already have a current parent involved in the curriculum team - soon to be joined by a student representative, after Student Council elections this month - and we look forward to widening participation. If you would like to be involved, please do contact Barry Mansfield.
In undertaking this process, we make a commitment to interrogate the assumptions we might hold about inequality, exclusion, racism and privilege. As a school, and as a charity, we want to be more accountable for our practice: It is our responsibility to be clear and intentional in the way that we seek to provide ‘equitable opportunities and wellbeing to all’. Reflecting this, Barry shared some thoughts - at our Class of 2020 Graduation - about how we might start to question the assumptions we have about the world, and you can read this here.
Finally, our staff team and the Board of Trustees will be engaging in intercultural competence training. This is a process designed to help all of us all step outside of our expectations and experience - our cultural norms - and recognise how these might boundary our thinking and therefore how we might, often unintentionally, fail to acknowledge or accommodate other, different, ways of seeing the world. As an international school, committed to the IB mission of fostering intercultural understanding, these efforts form a purposeful extension of our ideals and working practice.
We are proud to reaffirm our commitment to the values expressed in our mission: to create an inclusive community that appreciates and respects each person. All are welcomed to contribute and develop a sense of agency and ownership of the school and its mission. Just as we wish all students to fulfil their unique potential, we actively nurture the same opportunities for growth for everyone in our community.