The headmaster of St Dunstan’s College has told his pupils that is “happily gay and in a same-sex relationship” in a senior school online assembly to kick off the school’s LGBTQ+ week – coinciding with LGBT+ History Month in the UK.
In the video, Nicholas Hewlett encouraged pupils at the coeducational school to have the courage to be themselves and allow others to be themselves also.
Hewlett said: “15 years ago, I was told by a senior colleague in the independent school I was then working in that, as an openly gay man, it would be virtually impossible for me to become a headmaster. Today, in my seventh year as head of St Dunstan’s College, I have taken the decision to be transparent and open about my sexuality with the pupils under my care.
“The reality that role models really do matter and can have a material impact on the mental wellbeing of young people. For children, being educated by a diversity of adults who represent differing race, gender, sexuality and background, helps identities to settle and grow.
I believe we are duty-bound to stop the pervasive, increasingly sub-conscious, view that professional success needs to look a certain way; that white, heterosexual men are in some way inherently advantaged in assuming positions of responsibility and leadership – Nicholas Hewlett, St Dunstan’s College
“More than this, it helps cultivate an ethos of inclusion and respect, preventing the narrow-minded rhetoric, superiority and inward-looking identities that have come to characterise far too many of our country’s institutions.
“Furthermore, I believe we are duty-bound to stop the pervasive, increasingly sub-conscious, view that professional success needs to look a certain way; that white, heterosexual men are in some way inherently advantaged in assuming positions of responsibility and leadership.”
There are a variety of talks and activities taking place at the school this week, with guest speakers, tutor time discussions and an art competition where students have been asked to design their own rainbow themed artwork.
Hewlett added: “If by standing up and ‘coming out’ to my pupils, it helps one young person be more comfortable in their own skin, more empowered to be themselves, and further engenders a culture of respect, inclusion, and the championing of individuality, surely it is an act worth doing?”