Equality nowadays is sometimes taken for granted. People sometimes say that racism and homophobia are outdated beliefs that society has grown out of. Unfortunately events such as the recent shootings in an Orlando nightclub and the Islamophobia backlash show that this is not the case. This is the very reason that Dane Court works and will continue to work for all forms of equality. We have six particular equality characteristics that we promote throughout the school:
- Gender (both between sexes and for gender reassignment)
- Sexual orientation
On Tuesday 17 May Dane Court hosted a group of students from the University of Kent who ran an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gender) Mythbusters session for our year 12 students. These university students held an open and honest question and answer session, addressing many issues raised by our year 12 students about a wide range of topics, from coming out, to support groups, to clarifying terminology, to how a heterosexual person can best support LGBT people. The session relied on the questions that our year 12 students asked, and to hear the thoughtful and genuine questions really showed how sensibly people take these issues. Numerous year 12 students commented about how knowledgeable and informative the Mythbusters were, and how helpful they were in explaining things in a clear fashion. This was the second year that the University of Kent have run this event for our year 12 students. They will evaluate this scheme as a pilot before hopefully rolling it out to other schools in the local area. We hope to be able to continue and develop this link with the university, broadening to tackle other equality characteristics as well.
Our Equality display board features a rotating series of role models for each of our six characteristics. These role models are selected from those suggested by students and staff in response to a whole-school questionnaire. It is fantastic not only to see the different people identified as role models, but also the explanation that accompanies their choice.
However, it is not just through special events and displays that we aim to tackle discrimination on these characteristics, it is also in lessons themselves. Teachers already include aspects of these equality characteristics in some of their regular lessons, and we are developing this further. As part of our equality ethos and the development of the key stage three and four Identity, Culture and Education curriculum, we are sourcing and creating resources to promote equality with our students. Next year, each of the six terms will include a specific equality characteristic as a theme within assemblies and mentoring to provide time for staff and students to reflect upon these particular issues. It is our aim through the work that we do that we are preparing our students to go into the wider world and hopefully make it a fairer and safer place for everyone regardless of sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, disability, or gender.