What is the best and most challenging thing about being a head of pastoral?
The best thing about being a pastoral lead is having the opportunity to get to know all the students beyond academics. Pastoral for me is about taking a holistic approach when providing support for students. It is like being a parent to all the students in the school. Students will let you know when they are happy and when they are sad. They tell you their fears, share their anxieties.
With every conversation you learn more about each student and how best to support them. I think the most challenging aspect of being a pastoral lead is getting students to understand ‘why’ we do what we do. For students it is not always apparent why particular systems are put in place to safeguard their mental and physical health. But everything we do has the student at the centre.
What was it about Dwight School London that made you accept the job?
Dwight had a strong vision, and it was clear that the school was preparing students to be productive global citizens. In addition to student support and development, it was clear that Dwight had a great CPD programme that promoted life-long learning and inquiry-based pedagogy for staff.
What was your favourite subject at school?
It is hard to think of just one. My favourite subjects at school were maths and physics, hence why I chose to do my PGCE in maths and physics. My physics teacher was incredibly supportive and took her time to make the content relatable. I found that in A-levels, learning about physics made me more intrigued about the real-world applications. It was my time studying maths and physics at school that led me to study engineering at university.
What does your more recent role as diversity and inclusion coordinator entail?
My current role has me coordinating diversity, equity and inclusion initiative across Dwight’s school sites in London, New York, Dubai, Shanghai, Seoul and Global (online platform). It has been a pleasure to see the great work being done by staff across the globe.
All the sites are doing innovative work around DEI and involving experts both in and outside of the Dwight community. The role has allowed me to collaborate with other coordinators to ensure that Dwight is at the forefront of providing an outstanding DEI programme for staff, students and the wider community. Through my role I hope to further connect the Dwight schools, providing a large network that would give schools, staff and students the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s experiences and expertise in all areas of DEI.
What has been the impact of the anti-racism initiatives you have implemented?
With the emphasis on inclusive language in regular CPDs throughout the year, staff feel more confident discussing topics around diversity and inclusion. For the students, I believe that they can see that the school has implemented meaningful and relevant initiatives. All in all, I believe that we have made a huge impact on school culture.
I genuinely believe that by having more conversations and building time in staff training and tutor time for students, we have been able to provide a safe space for all.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon. What I am enjoying about the book is that while the book was written in 1952, it still holds cultural significance today. The way Frantz talks about the lived experience of Black people, and the importance of code-switching to be accepted is fascinating. In addition, I have enjoyed the psychological and sociological approach that Frantz has to racial discourses.
What issue in education are you most passionate about?
I am passionate about racial justice and representation in education.
If you weren’t in education, what would you do instead?
I would most likely have continued coaching elite level gymnastics. I have coached gymnastics for over 12 years, so it will always have a place in my heart.
Aldaine graduated with a degree in engineering and then studied his MA in social justice at UCL, where he began to look at the intersection between social justice and education. He has written a series of blogs on diversity and inclusion in schools.
Follow Aldaine on Twitter: @AldainePase