Diversity is a theme that I promised the boys that I would come back to this summer term, and the first assembly back provided me with the perfect opportunity. We first considered the critically important need for diversity in nature and the environment. It is a good starting point to be able to show how, strong biodiversity is the key to a strong and sustainable planet, and the boys seemed to enjoy the following clip: Embracing Diversity
Embracing diversity is key to a strong school community too, and I could not be prouder to be leading a school where diversity really matters. This week we welcomed two ‘virtual’ visitors to Durston. Not in the classroom but within the Governing body, as we completed our governance review. An initial observation by our assessors, was that diversity was seen as a great strength of our Board of Governors and emphasising its importance at the highest level of the organisation serves to shine a spot light on its importance throughout the school community.
I see diversity as a critically important strength for so many reasons. Here are just a few:
Bringing people together with different backgrounds, life experiences, skills, aptitudes and perspectives, generates a far more enriching learning environment at school. One pupil after our recent assembly astutely observed “Wouldn’t it be better to have multiple interpretations and approaches, rather than everyone contributing the same thoughts and conclusions?”
As boys at Durston experience diversity in their everyday life, they have regular exposure to people, cultures, traditions and practices that are unlike their own. Our boys learn from a very early age to embrace diversity and gain a more worldly, balanced and informed perspective.
As we compare our own struggles, priorities and values we really begin to understand other people, to walk in their shoes and see real life issues from a completely different point of view.
Of course the promotion of diversity is the first step to not just ‘tolerance’ but true acceptance. Through growing contact with, exposure to, and communication between new people with unique ideas, individuals our boys’ see that they may have more in common than they thought. Or, they may still be remarkably different, and that is okay, too! Increasing familiarity with these differences can alter perspectives, facilitate acceptance, and diminish the misconceptions and prejudices that fuel discrimination.
As we fully integrate the new Relationships, Sex and Health Education into the school curriculum, in consultation of course with our parents, the possibilities to discuss, prioritise and shine a light on our values of inclusivity, respect, diversity and kindness could not be more important, more current and more meaningful.
Within the whole Durston community, our differences make us stronger, of that there is absolutely no doubt. Even in the face of intolerance, discrimination and prejudice, the message has to be to remember to spread the word about the importance of diversity and to respond to threats with love and a celebration of our differences.