Diversity & National Issues
Sexual Abuse in Schools
Sexual abuse of peers on other peers is not a new phenomenon, though has recently been in the news as a result of the extent of this in some schools. In our schools, we act proactively through our curriculum and pastoral care to ensure behaviours between peers are respectful. Where we do have allegations, these are treated extremely sensitively and thoroughly investigated.
Children with learning disabilities need Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) to support their understanding about relationships, respectful behaviours and how to manage puberty and natural, sexual inclinations.
Like all schools, we remain vigilant and aware of sexual abuse online and have tight procedures that limit access to online platforms where harm is often undertaken. We support families where online abuse occurs and such children involved are supported extensively in school.
If your child reports any allegations regarding sexual abuse (or otherwise) please contact the school immediately where our Safeguarding Lead and wider safeguarding team will support you and your child.
Reducing our Carbon Footprint
We know that half of all Hertfordshire County Council's carbon output comes from the schools.
Our pupils and staff are passionate about reducing our carbon footprint and are currently considering what targets we can and should be aiming for to reduce our carbon footprint to at least neutral.
St Lukes' School is Band D - better than the average. (2020)
Collett School is Band G - worse than most schools (2020)
Works achieved that have reduced energy use:
- The Collett School - 2016 New roof on the main building
- The Collett School - 2018 New double glazed windows
- The Collett School - 2020 Replacement of two classrooms with energy efficient measures
- The Collett School - 2020 LED lighting replacement of flourescent and tungsten bulbs complete
- St Luke's School - 2014 Double glazed windows installed
- St Luke's School - 2018 New boilers, new pipework across the school
- The Collett School - new boilers and heating pipework completed November 2021
Works planned to reduce energy use:
- St Luke's School - new roofing across the school (No date - bids submitted Oct 2020)
- St Luke's School - LED lighting improvement (2021/22)
Black Lives Matter - Racism has No Place in our Federation of Schools
Black Lives Matter
Our belief that every young person, through access to a great education, should be able to realise their potential, regardless of where they live or their circumstances. We deplore the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Manuel Ellis and countless others who have lost their lives due to unrelenting racial injustices and we recognise the uncomfortable truths that we all must face.
Since his murder on 25 May 2020, what has changed?
Our federation acknowledges that systemic racism is a problem that must be addressed everywhere. We have a duty to face up to the difficult conversations that ultimately result in the lifting of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) voices. We know that in Britain, Black children are more likely to experience poverty, have poorer educational outcomes, be excluded from school, be unemployed, and come into contact with the criminal justice system. They are less likely to access the care they need if they are struggling with mental health problems, and Black children are more likely to act as carers for ill and disabled family members and to miss out on support. We know that the Black community is underrepresented in teaching staff, even more so at a leadership level and we acknowledge that that impacts upon Black children’s experience of education. We acknowledge the position we are in today and we refuse to fail to learn.
It is crucial that we take action beyond statements. We welcome challenge on our practices and will not be afraid of robust questioning.
Furthermore, we will:
- Promote the comprehensive review of the curriculum coverage of Black history in our schools, to ensure that, at every key stage, Black voices are heard, Black stories are told and Black achievements and contributions to society are celebrated.
- Review the entire curriculum experience to ensure that there is good representation of Black voices and experiences: in and outside the formal taught curriculum, in each subject area, through trips and visits coverage and the profile of speakers.
- For all internal recruitment and external recruitment we will minimise unconscious bias by presenting blind view CVs to hiring managers.
- Monitor, report and take action upon any differences in successful hires, performance results, promotions and pay between our Black and non-Black colleagues.
- Invite all colleagues that identify as BAME and BAME matters to form a BAME forum with a view to creating internal, education tools and lifting BAME voices to make robust recommendations that seek to further the cause of ending systemic racism both internally and with the work that we do.
- We recognise that these issues affect the whole BAME community, and we extend these commitments to all affected.
In late June, we met as a federation to discuss matters that could be better addressed within our schools. As such, we have a committee of people who will work to ensure our systems, procedures, behaviours, resources and teaching content reflect the values we hold and wish to make explicit.
We proudly took part in Black History Month again this year.
Continued reflection of our teaching content and influence has ensured changes to what we teach and, how we ensure pupils have a broad understanding of the positive contributions black, Asian and minority ethnic people have made to the UK and world
All welcome to attend the Zoom meeting regarding discussions on BLM and ideas development to benchmark our progress.
- We have taken part in HfL and HCC online forums.
- We have reviewed our curriculum
- We are asking everyone on our community to share and discuss any racist experiences that we need to ensure don't happen again and, to heal through discussion and action.
- We promote anti-racism
- Our curriculum includes a more balanced BAME representation in history, politics
- We have reviewed and improved our interview process to ensure unconscious-bias does not have a place in recruitment
Our survey across the federation has generated ideas and practical considerations for improvements to ensure we get to a racism free environment. Work on our curriculum continues and training is being developed.
We continue to work to embed black culture, literature, art, history and music as meaningful, relevant and inspirational aspects of our curriculum. We value the response from HfL on the anniversary of George Floyd's death May 2021
We have audited our curricula and made changes to our curriculum to include further diversity in those influential people we study and the impact of people on our culture and society including mainstream and minorities. Our libraries have greater diversity of black and brown protagonists in literature, whilst our non-fiction has more recent publications that capture a more diverse cannon of influencers.
With our diversity information boards, we promote and celebrate difference in our schools. Young people who identify as gay have contributed to the designs of the diversity boards and pupils with differences continue to share their thoughts, ideologies and information through assemblies, newsletters and curriculum planning.
Our curriculum celebrates the work and achievements of lesbian, gay and bisexual people through history as part of our diversification of what is taught and understood.
We record separately incidents of a homophobic nature and analyse impact and further teaching/ programmes. We have relatively few incidents of homophobic and racist language as all staff are engaged in preventing such language and following up all incidents as they take place.
Our toilets have all been changed at Collett and most changed at St Luke's to be non-gender specific. In turn, these have reduced incidents of bullying and made the toilets less intimidating places.
Our uniform across the schools is non-gender specific and we have pupils opting to wear uniform that had previously been designated gender specific.
We are very proud of our pupils feeling confident to celebrate their differences - who they are, want to be and how this helps change minds and opinions of others.
In a rapidly evolving world, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Information and facts can be misinterpreted as we try to make sense of our place in society. We develop our codes of conduct and values through the people and institutions we trust but sometimes don't always have a clear picture of others' views or different interpretations of 'facts'.
In our schools, we want our pupils to have an understanding of the issues all of us face in our communities and wider society and to learn about differences. Some of our pupils will directly face racism, homophobia and transphobia in their lifetimes so our federation-wide values of 'worth, respect, independence, wellbeing and resilience' are embedded in our support to demonstrate personal pride in our own differences and respect others.
The personal stories here are intended as a springboard for finding further texts, videos and information that enlighten you about others' experiences. This page ultimately seeks to celebrate our difference.
Please contact us with information you feel should be included on this page.
Growing up Black in the UK
Jasmine During discusses her experiences growing up black in the UK and points us to further information sources: Jasmine During's Blog
Black Lives Matter
The BBC's website identifies the political BLM movement started in the USA and how this has evolved in the light of racism and prejudice. BBC What is BLM and what are the aims?
An informative set of discussions by Jamie, a Transgender man, who explains his position in society and relating his journey and it's context within the gender critical debates and transphobia: Transgender discussions by Jamie, a Transgender man
Growing up Gay in the UK
Olly Alexander discusses his experiences of growing up gay and the impact on his mental health and wellbeing: Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay in a Straight World
Growing up Asian in the UK
A poem written and read by Rosia Li, a British born Chinese young woman: I am British
When I Grow Up I Want to Be...
Fewer than 6% of people with learning disabilities have a job. Only 5.8% of people with learning disabilities are in some form of paid employment. This has fallen from 6.6% in 2011: Foundation for People With Learning Disabilities
Growing Up with Islamaphobia
What it’s like to grow up in the UK as a Muslim woman: ‘People would shout terrorist at us on school trips’ ‘I learned from a young age that when people shout “terrorist” in public, no one around will defend you. Suddenly everyone is deaf.’
By Heather Saul
Boris Johnson’s recent description of Muslim women who wear a burka as looking like ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’ highlighted the Islamophobia experienced by women every day.
Last year saw a record number of anti-Muslim attacks recorded by the monitoring group Tell Mama, with women disproportionately targeted. Two-thirds of the 1,201 verified reports of anti-Muslim abuse were about incidents which happened offline.
The I newspaper spoke to four people about being confronted with Islamophobia throughout their lives, how the comments about Muslim women have affected them, and what they want to see happen now.
Afroza, 20, Bolton
When we were young, my siblings and I couldn’t go to the park behind our house because we risked being beaten up.
I went to a religious school which was just like normal secondary school aside from lessons starting with a prayer. But every time we went out on school trips, people would call us terrorists and shout: “Allah hu akbar” at us.
I learned from a young age that when people shout “terrorist” in public, no one around will defend you. Suddenly everyone is deaf. Society already alienates you, but when Islamophobia happens in real life it’s 100 times scarier.
Once, we had the back door of our house kicked in, so my parents called the police. They didn’t come out to see us. It happened again the next day and they still didn’t show up.
‘I know how scary it can be when you’re a young girl and a grown man is screaming in your face’
When the likes of Tommy Robinson speak out, scrolling through the comments can be heartbreaking. There is just so much ignorance. I’ve muted some words because of how stressful I find seeing Islamophobic comments online.
All of this affects your confidence and self-esteem. I have really bad anxiety when leaving the house in a headscarf. My mum wears a headscarf and so do my sisters and I worry for their safety all the time. I know they wouldn’t be able to speak up or defend themselves.
But as I’ve grown up, I’ve learnt to be myself unapologetically. I refuse to carry the guilt we are made to feel for no reason. I now speak up about Islamophobia because I know how scary it can be. Especially when you’re a young girl and a grown man is screaming in your face.
Rupa Huq, MP, West London
In the 70s I attended Montpelier primary school in Ealing Broadway, my now constituency.
I remember the first time I was called “Paki” in the playground and being quite startled. My child tormentor had to explain the term to me. I told him: “Actually East Pakistan has been liberated into Bangladesh since 1971, it’s an independent country,” which shut him up.
In those days racism was about being Asian – the subtitles of religion had not reared their head. The Satanic Verses and 9-11 went some way to change that.
‘The culmination of this was having an Islamophobic package containing a letter doused in a mystery substance warning me of “Kill a Muslim Day’
By Spring 2018 I’d become an MP and magnet for abuse, usually with a Muslim twist, sometimes for speaking on justice for Palestinians or even the dangers of leaving the EU.
The culmination of this was having an Islamophobic package containing a letter doused in a mystery substance warning me of “Kill a Muslim Day”. It resulted in my office being cordoned off by police as a crime scene and one of my staff taken to hospital – it was the week of Salisbury.
The rise of all forms of hate crimes in our society is deplorable and I lay much of the blame at the door of the climate we have in our divided nation post-referendum.
Danila, 13, Aldershot
I think Islamophobia is history repeating itself because people have misconceptions about ethnic minorities just based on the way they look or live. Sometimes at school children say things like “Allah Akbar” as a joke, and can be unwilling to listen to anything about Islam. That, or what is taught to them goes in one ear and out the other. If they learned about Islam they could understand.
When a specific group of people is persecuted, such as the Jews before World War II and Muslims now, alarm bells should ring, especially when a name is given to it, such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
Islamophobia is a worry, but it reinforces my resolve to work for peace and a better understanding in society.
Among other things, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s outreach team, where I am secretary, raises money for British charities, assists women’s shelters, volunteers at food banks, helps the elderly and homeless and plants thousands of trees. We’ve been doing so in Britain for decades. This is true Islam in Britain and a direct strategy for countering Islamophobia.
Sara Khan, 38, London
The best thing about this situation and conversation is that we are hearing the voices of Muslim women. We are the vanguard. We are fighting to uphold the principles of freedom, choice and good manners not for ourselves but for the whole of society.
We will try to stop hatred and division in its tracks and build a better society.