Equality in Education at RGSW Schools
Since the dreadful incident of the unlawful killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, across the globe, we have all been reminded of the fundamental importance of equality and the need for everyone to be constantly alert to prevent any form of racism and attacks on basic human rights. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign reminds us of all the fundamental importance of education and the constant battle against a lack of awareness and ignorance.
Please click here to read the response from RGSW regarding an Open Letter.
The RGS Worcester Schools are committed to tackling any form of inequality including racism and to raising of awareness in our entire community of the need for constant vigilance and action. We are very aware of the importance of educating children as global citizens: we teach about inequalities of the past in History, we teach and raise awareness of human rights in RS and we tackle difficult topics including diversity and racism in PSHCE. We take every opportunity in our assembly programmes to raise awareness through themes such as empathy, tolerance and respect and encourage the importance of communities working together. Respect is one of the key values of our Sports programme. We develop in our pupils, the courage to speak out when they sense that something is wrong and we regularly discuss the importance of respect for each individual in our community as a key component in all that we do at the RGSW Schools.
At our Prep Schools and Nurseries (ages 2-11 years)
Exploration of diversity, values and identity are key in all areas of the curriculum and school life at our Prep Schools and Nurseries with a fundamental underpinning of respect, acceptance and tolerance for all people. We actively promote opportunities for all children to develop an understanding of their individual and group identity, learn about service in school and in the wider community, begin to understand the need for social justice and a concern for the disadvantaged in all areas of life and around the world. World events and news stories provide opportunities to discuss such topics in the safe environment of the school. We recognise the value and richness of cultural diversity in Britain, and how these influence individuals and society for the good. Pupils of all ages develop an understanding of their social and cultural environment and explore aspects of different cultures, and celebrate key individuals in history who embodied qualities of tolerance, or through their actions enabled social change. Children explore the cultural heritage of the United Kingdom and begin to understand that attitudes and beliefs have changed over time.
Key dates in the year inform our assemblies such as Holocaust Memorial Day, Black History month, or religious festivals, while notable anniversaries such as Armistice Day, Suffragette anniversaries and awareness weeks provide examples to children to discuss and explore in a safe and open-minded way.
At Senior School level (ages 11-18 years)
We teach all of our pupils the topic of Empire and its past atrocities in History. There is extensive coverage of human rights and equality in the RS syllabus. Civil Rights features prominently in a number of subjects taught, including in PSHCE teaching, in assemblies and in-wall displays around the School. Pupils explore further the social and cultural history of the United Kingdom and those of other countries and cultures across many subjects.
The recent incident in America, the reaction to that incident in the USA and the UK and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign have given us another crucial reminder to explain to the pupils the continual threat of inequality and racism across the world and the importance of staying alert and tackling these as individuals and as a community. Our community stresses constantly the importance of working together regardless of gender, race, age or religion.
Across the RGSW Schools
At the same time, there is always work to do, and these events prove that there is a risk of complacency when the only real position is to be constantly alert to any form of discrimination or inappropriate view or behaviour all the time. Each institution must look to its own approaches to ensure that there is no in-built prejudice which simply reinforces what is wrong. For example, we test all advertisements for posts at RGSW for any form of bias to ensure that they do not unwittingly exclude any group and we are inspected on our compliance with our policies on equality, including inspecting our effectiveness of implementation through interviews with the pupils.
Education provides such an opportunity to remove ignorance and develop awareness and inclusivity such that children grow up understanding that we should all work together and that they have responsibilities to support everyone around them.