With increased awareness and engagement through debate, education and more prominent student and staff voice, every day provides an opportunity for better understanding. And all these different voices mean a lot of listening goes on, whether in Assemblies, through the pastoral curriculum, focus weeks, academic lessons, school partnership opportunities, recruitment, or even clubs.
Putney has seized every opportunity to better understand and to celebrate diversity. Not only are there a host of activities and societies where students and staff can share and discuss ideas: POCSOC (People of Colour Society) LGBTQ+ Society, Diversity Society and FemBookSoc to name a few; there is also a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Week every year with highlights including an extremely popular Fashion Show alongside sessions on intersectionality and unconscious bias.
Our biennial, PIE2 Day (Putney Ideas Exchange) last year gave us a whole day off-timetable to focus on ways to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion. We heard from keynote speakers: paralympic athlete, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Putney alumna and choreographer Aicha McKenzie who reminded the assembled audience how, “we are all different, that is our superpower”.
With talks from The Black Curriculum, workshops and seminars, dancing and ‘paralympic sport’ and even the launch of a student designed “Diversity app”, there really was something for everyone, and not just those at Putney. We welcomed students from a number of local schools who joined our Diversity Panel and POCSOC debates, sharing their ideas and experiences and making the day a valuable opportunity for greater connection with our local schools and community.
Throughout the academic year, there is huge value and enjoyment to be had in all of these events, but it is important to us that they are more than just “events,” that they are beliefs and commitments that as a community we live and breathe; firmly embedded in every aspect of school life. For this we have also needed to look more deeply at the curriculum itself.