The Equality Committee is a group which was established with the aim to develop a greater understanding of equality at Abingdon School and to provide a medium where this is promoted. It is run as an Other Half option.
Our mission statement is to:
- Create an environment where equality, diversity and inclusion are valued, understood and promoted
- Raise awareness about unfair discrimination and addressing potential bias
- Implement effective strategies and activities to help forward this vision
- Work to create an inclusive environment where all students and staff feel valued, accepted and understood
This year we have split into three focus groups – events, curriculum and communications – so as to help make and achieve tangible progress in reaching our goals. Below you can find out more about what each group does and the different projects we have undertaken.
In the communications section of the Equality Committee we aim to spread awareness of different inequalities through writing articles for the different school magazines including the Martlet, the Timeline magazine and Words & That. Chester Shen (fifth year) has written two articles on ‘Diversity and Sport’ and ‘Diversity’s Big Mess’ for the Martlet with Mike MacLennan (upper sixth) also writing for the Martlet about Political Correctness. Ianto Brewer (lower sixth) and Charlie Masters (upper sixth) have both written for the Timeline Magazine and Words & That respectively with Ianto writing about the Haitian Revolution and Charlie writing a monologue about gender norms. As well as writing individual articles we, as a group, arranged the logistics for an Equality Committee Twitter and Instagram account plus an Equality Committee email for any queries or concerns students may have.
The Events sub-committee is responsible for organising activities on various days of the year when we raise awareness of equality, diversity and inclusivity, whether that be in race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and many more. A group of students and teachers prepare a presentation in advance, highlighting the history of a particular issue, how we as a society are adapting and being more inclusive, and how we should respond as a School and individually. These are either presented in Head’s Assembly, or are shared with tutors to discuss with their tutees in Tutor Periods. We often leave questions at the end of our presentations so as to open up discussion among members of the School, as this is the only way for us to face this issue as a society. Our recent topics of discussion include Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+, sexism and misogyny. We are also hoping to partner with the Equalities Group at St Helen and St Katharine to raise awareness of particular historic days on equality, as well as sharing students’ experiences.
The “Curriculum Review” group’s main focus has been on the PSHCE lessons – these happen every fortnight and are a great opportunity for students to educate themselves on important topics concerning society today. These lessons tend to be discussion-based and are made to allow students to freely express their opinions on those issues. We have been involved with a review of the curriculum and structure of lessons, in order to ensure that inclusivity requirements are met, as well as to highlight any possible discrimination. After reviewing the lessons that students in the third and fourth years are going to have in the coming years, the group has come up with two main targets:
- The lessons should be designed to promote discussion instead of written work – it would be beneficial to cut the spaces left to write down notes and leave more open-ended questions.
- Placing an emphasis on inclusivity and diversity and tackling racial or ethnic discrimination when it comes to texts or photos.
The Equality Committee has recently given an assembly on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death to raise awareness about we can do as individuals to help bring about greater equality.