A south London independent school has announced the launch of an “umbrella group” to promote and enhance diversity, a move inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the global pandemic and the Everyone’s Invited website.
St Dunstan’s College, Catford said the new structure – called the St Dunstan’s Diapason – will begin by considering how best to support diversity for five protected characteristics: sexual orientation, sex and gender, race, religion and belief, and disability.
Each of the five “pillars” of the group is led by a staff member, with help from student champions, who will hold regular meetings with staff and students to agree and implement new action plans with the school foundation and the Diapason. Each pillar will be encouraged to work alongside key charities and voluntary organisations.
Headmaster Nicholas Hewlett said: “We must start having meaningful dialogue with the young about issues that matter. A lack of open dialogue around such matters risks us not moving forwards. We need to take everyone with us on the journey to ensuring an equal society and one that genuinely cherishes diversity. That’s why I created the St Dunstan’s Diapason.
“Today we live in a world where social media and globalisation can stoke the fire of discontent in an instant, and on both sides of the thinking.
“This is coupled to a pandemic where people have been forced to shield behind the wall of a computer and the anonymity of a keyboard, our world has become much less an exchange of views – a healthy debate – and more an anonymised mud-slinging match of increasingly entrenched positions of outrage.
“I want to argue that educators and schools have a fundamental role in challenging this dangerous societal position but to do so will demand creativity and imagination from its leaders.”
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