On May 25 2020, the tragic death of George Floyd brought the world together with a renewed sense of commitment to antiracism and equality. It is a date that will forever be part of our cultural history.
Here at the GDST, the discourse on the subjects of diversity, equality and inclusion that followed helped us to take a step back and reflect on what we needed to do. We asked ourselves some difficult questions and challenged ourselves to do even better.
The whole of the GDST family – parents, teachers, support staff and pupils, came together to talk, debate and challenge. Our alumnae reached out to us to share their views on what they thought we could do better. These conversations helped us to agree some important steps in our journey towards equality, diversity and inclusion in its broadest sense.
We then set up the “Undivided” Steering Group in the Summer of 2020. This team of dedicated individuals from across the GDST family have created the Charter for Action which will serve as our blueprint for measuring progress. A Belonging Survey has been shared with our pupils to help identify priorities and measure our progress and formed a Schools’ Council, which brings pupils from each of the Junior and Senior Schools together to share ideas and collaborate. We now have a staff training programme designed to help all of us improve our skills in diversifying the curriculum and other important pupil experiences. Parents have enjoyed some of the expert resources we have shared such as the GDST Talks series. We have invited experts in the field, many of whom are alumnae and friends of the GDST, to help us ensure our schools are places where everyone is included and celebrated. It is crucial to us that all of our pupils enjoy the very best education experience and we are also committed to attracting, retaining and developing members of staff from all walks of life.
The journey towards diversity, equality and inclusion will never truly end, but with each step, we will strive for a more equitable community across our family of schools. As our pupils go out into the world as social citizens and global leaders, I am confident that they will continue to be champions of a fairer and more inclusive society for themselves, and for future generations.
We know there is no quick fix. We also know there is no finish line. But one thing is certain, inclusion is about each and every member of the GDST family being treated with the respect they deserve and believing that they matter.
So, on 25 May 2021 we continue to listen. Because it is through listening that we learn and go on to act with purpose.
I am so very proud of every member of the GDST Family – the “Undivided” steering committee who will make sure we keep our promises, our staff who dedicate themselves to providing an exceptional environment in which pupils can learn, the families who trust us with the education of their children, and most of all, our pupils, past and present, who speak up and speak out, determined to make the world a better place for us all.
Chief Executive, GDST