October 15

Let's use this month to have a conversation about important issues

As you no doubt will be aware, October is a month that has been traditionally used to spotlight Black History in schools. While awareness months can be divisive (why are we not interested in Black History all year round, one might validly ask?) they do provide an opportunity for a community to come together in a conversation about important issues. In 2020, we felt we wanted to broaden this question to talk not only about Black History, but also about many of the issues put in the spotlight this year: anti-racism; allyship and meaningful inclusion. In an age-appropriate way, pupils and staff have been encouraged to explore many of these issues further and begin a conversation throughout October. Activities have included: discussion groups on readings, debate, black history documentary screenings and a superb extended assembly for our senior girls from alumna Carina White on anti-racism and allyship and her own fascinating story. It has been really good to see girls and staff talking about these issues and beginning, what I anticipate, will be a much longer conversation about anti-racism and inclusion within our community. If you would like to explore the materials we have been providing for the students yourselves, or watch Carina’s talk, you can access it here on Firefly.

The GDST as an organisation are very committed to ensuring everything we do is as inclusive as possible and to that end, a GDST-wide steering group (of which I am the Heads’ representative), is developing a charter of pledges. Currently in the consultation phase, it will be published to parents (as well as girls, staff and alumnae) before the end of term for your feedback and I will signpost this to you on the GDST website when this happens. In school, we have also identified this area as one of our priorities and are involving girls, governors and staff in gathering information and data, in order to determine our next steps within school. We will, of course, also involve parents in this conversation too.

As we head into half term, I would just like to thank every single member of our community for your support and commitment in keeping everyone in our community safe and in school by following guidance and behaving sensibly. Whilst of course, we cannot control everything that is happening outside our walls, we have been very appreciative of everyone’s flexibility and support this term.

Also In the News