Leighton Park appoints diversity and inclusion officer

An independent school in Berkshire has appointed its first diversity and inclusion officer, in what it has called a “pioneering move in the independent school sector”

An independent school in Berkshire has appointed its first diversity and inclusion officer, in what it has called a “pioneering move in the independent school sector”.

Leighton Park School has welcomed speaker and former headteacher Shaun Dellenty to the role, after a selection process that involved both interviews with senior staff and student panels.

The school said although common in business and government organisations, such a role is “rare” in independent schools.

Dellenty has led diversity and inclusion initiatives in schools across the UK, Europe and India, and has trained more than 90,000 teachers. He also wrote Celebrating Difference: A Whole-School Approach to LGBT+ Inclusion.

Dellenty has been recognised with several awards and memberships, including Top 20 Figures in Public Life on the Global Diversity List 2020; Point of Light designation from the UK prime minister for services to education and anti-bullying; Freedom of the City of London for services to diversity and inclusion; and a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts.

A statement from the school read: “The diversity and inclusion officer will play a pivotal role in ensuring that the values of equality permeate everything we do at Leighton Park.

The diversity and inclusion officer will play a pivotal role in ensuring that the values of equality permeate everything we do at Leighton Park – Leighton Park School

“A Quaker approach to education believes in the inherent worth of each individual, recognising that each child has unique talents.

“This role will support the school to further strive for these ideals, and will involve assessing and advising on aspects such as the curriculum that we teach, the way that we recruit our staff and the support that we provide to students to empower them to be free thinking with a clear, confident self-awareness.”

A recent petition signed by former and current pupils, staff and parents at Leighton Park School was centred around advocating for the school to play a more active role in addressing racism in society and at the school.

“The diversity and inclusion officer post has been planned for some time to give our Quaker values of equality and respect a figurehead within the school. We are proud of the active role our students and OLs take in standing up for what they believe in,” said the school.

“It is important for us as a school with a Quaker ethos that we always listen to all feedback and see it as an opportunity to grow as an organisation.”


In other news: More than 30 independent schools aiming to reach zero carbon by 2030

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