Differences are what define us, bind us and make us all beautiful and complex beings. Differences should be celebrated because when you celebrate and honour something, you remove the irrational and inherited fear of it. As an educator and role model for young people at Hurst College, I feel it is my absolute duty to enable and encourage diversity in a whole school setting and I feel extremely grateful that I have been given the opportunity to take the lead on this platform as the newly appointed Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Diversity comes in many forms, all of which contribute to an individual’s unique experience of the world and every entity should be valued with the same respect and admiration.
At Hurst we feel it is our duty and responsibility to shine a light on and examine the presence of diversity and have taken steps to do just that throughout our college community. We have recognised that we can certainly do more to bring about change. Like many schools across the nation, we have already set up a pupil and staff platform which has been overwhelmingly positive. Of course, this is not going to be something we can transform overnight and we are aware that this is a long journey, but with huge and much-needed gains. We have identified some aims moving forward and feel it is an absolute must that we commission somebody with specific expertise to work on our diversity and inclusion action plan to help us understand the sensitivities around what we need to get right.
Some of the ideas we have in mind have come from staff and pupils alike and it is very exciting to see such passion and determination behind everyone’s ideas and thinking. We have identified the need to ramp up our own school initiatives and actively seek, organise and fund community outreach projects that engage with more diverse communities - these should be authentic projects that work with community groups rather than for community groups. Taking forward the recommendations of a curriculum review is vital and we want to look at how we can better represent the contribution of BAME/diverse individuals in all subjects and age-groups. One thing that is so easy to engage with will be to have more conversations and discussion with our pupils and staff body around all things diverse. Yes, sometimes uncomfortable topics, but conversations that we need to start having. But most of all, we need to do something. As Dr Rosemary Henze (Professor Linguistics and Language Development at San Jose State University) stated “Above all, schools shouldn’t just do nothing”. And that we are not.
We want the Hurst community to recognise that diversity is colourful, it’s real and it’s essential. We want our pupils to think really hard about how their language and actions could make individuals feel. What if everyone who surrounded you was exactly like you, in every way? Where is the fun in that? We need new ideas, views, and practices to stimulate and inspire us, to show us the way others think, celebrate, and love! Together, our differences make a strong, beautiful, unique, kind, community. Even in the face of intolerance, discrimination and violence, we must not forget to spread the word about the importance of diversity and to respond to that violence with a love and a celebration of our differences in a fully inclusive environment.