Promoting equality and diversity across the school through our policies and practice has been one of the 5 strategic priorities for 2021.
The Headteacher, Sukwinder Samra, is working with Newham head teachers on an anti-racist education initiative called Education for Change which will be launched in September. We have made significant headway through looking critically at our curriculum and making major and minor tweaks, both of which have resulted in a more inclusive whole school ethos and curriculum.
Here are a few examples:
- There is a new year 6 topic on The partition of India which predates The British Empire and has helped pupils to understand colonialism
- The year 6 unit on Trade and Slavery unit in year 6 has been further improved
- Our Relationships Education has further helped pupils to understand that there are different families in society - this has been carried out with full parental consultation and in an age appropriate manner
- The recent focus on Palestine also sits firmly under our equalities work.
- Studying BAME artists in Art such as the Singh Twins
- Studying the contributions made by significant people across all subjects to include more women, disabled and BAME people and other protected characteristics.
- eg Year 1 Explorers unit includes a lesson on a Muslim Moroccan explorer called Ibn Battuta. Our vision is that pupils are set a pre-topic piece of holiday homework where they can research people like Matthew Henson, an African American believed to be the first man to reach the North pole but not recognised for his achievements.
- In the Year 3 Rocks and Soil unit, pupils study a female geologist (Sophy Crosby) since we very much want our girls to see themselves working within the STEM subject.
- The year 4 Climate Change and Activism unit includes different activists from different backgrounds eg (Female Somali-American ‘Fatima Jibrell’ and male African-American ‘Prince EA’) and Greta Thunberg who is autistic.
- In the Year 5 Earth and Space unit , we are suggesting pupils studying Valentina Tereshkova who was the first and youngest woman to have flown in space.
Furthermore, we have been sourcing more books which either include central characters who are diverse or are written by a variety of authors (e.g Malorie Blackman). We are careful that these books, including those from the Battle of the Books list in KS2 are engaging and non-tokenistic.
We have a significant number of pupils with special needs and we are keen to keep improving pupils’ understanding of special needs and disability. Ms Gillet’s literacy class received a lesson from an organisation called Just Different and was taught by Helen whose disability is cerebral palsy. Helen explained what activities she likes doing and how she does them (i.e. ramps in her car, her bungalow, her speech synthesiser machine, her job, her electric wheelchair, plus her adventure holidays where she does horse riding, swimming and climbing). Her key messages -- namely that her life is full and happy so long as she has the right supports, adaptations and that others respect her and don't judge her-- came across clearly thanks to her use of photographs from her life and clear explanations.