Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Withington is an inclusive welcoming school which values and celebrates all members of its community so that everyone can thrive and flourish.

Alongside our fellow GSA and HMC schools, we are proud to be further developing our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy which will allow us to reflect in depth on the inclusive culture of our school and to ensure that everyone benefits from the strength and success that a positive active approach to inclusion brings.

We recognise that inclusion enables individuals from every different background to feel safe and valued and that an inclusive environment is about feeling a sense of belonging and security in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The central principle of respect has always been explicit in our school values and we are keen to actively reflect on ways in which we can further develop the ethos of respect and belonging in different areas of school life.

During the academic year 2020/21, pupils and staff completed an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion survey, designed for our school by our EDI partners, All in Education and RS Academics.  The survey was analysed and results shared with our pupils, parents, staff and governors. This survey allowed us to pinpoint those areas where EDI is working very successfully as well as next steps for development across the school. Based on survey results, our main targets for our EDI journey this academic year included:

  • Setting up a staff and governors EDI leadership group who will work on EDI vision and strategy and undergo further training and reflection to support development of EDI principles in key areas of the curriculum, extra-curricular activity, pastoral care, recruitment, human resources and governance.
  • Setting up a pupil group to ensure our pupils’ experience is understood and that pupils contribute their ideas to the development of EDI within school.
  • Running a whole staff training and development session to ensure everyone in school understands the school EDI vision and has the skills to develop EDI in their areas of school.

Last term, our school leadership group was set up and we completed our training and reflection sessions. The team is working in subgroups throughout this term to finalise our action plan which will be completed by April.

We also set up a pupil EDI team led by Year 13 pupils who have contributed to our work on EDI vision and strategy and helped to plan our upcoming Culture Day on February 22nd. The aim of our Culture Day is to celebrate the diverse cultures within our school community; learn more about each other’s traditions and rejoice in recognising that our diversity is our strength at Withington. Our Head Girl has also set up an Afro Caribbean Culture Society which has been very well attended by pupils of all ages.

We continue to invite a wide range of thinkers and speakers to visit our school and inform pupils and staff on a wide variety of EDI issues. The ‘RAP Project’ ran some brilliant sessions for all senior school pupils and parents on female safety and empowerment in November. As part of our ‘Feel Fab Feb’ fortnight, we are hosting a special screening of Mission: Joy, Finding Happiness in Troubled Times, featuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

In July 2021, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion was the central focus of our annual whole school Citizenship Day.  The day aimed to create greater multicultural awareness, increase understanding of sexual equality, as well as celebrating diversity and inclusion to prepare students to thrive in a diverse world. Our keynote speakers were Laura Bates (Citizenship and Sexism) and Louise Ishani (Diversity and Inclusion) and the day also included workshops for younger pupils on racism and sexual harassment as well as practical self-defence lessons for all our pupils.

We are proud to support the Schools’ Inclusion Alliance and look forward to sharing our ongoing journey with schools across the country.

Withington has had since its very beginnings a commitment to equality and social responsibility in its DNA and we recognise our important role as an educator in continuing to empower our pupils to become responsible global citizens.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to contribute to the discussion at conversation@wgs.org (please let us know your connection to Withington when you contact us).

Updated February 2022

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