How do we foster an environment of respect, acceptance and equality? How do we encourage young people to ask questions, challenge their existing ways of thinking and consider the diversity around them as positive and enriching? School Diversity Week for Ash Green Academy was really the closing event of a year-long initiative to tackle HBT bullying by creating an inclusive community and celebrating the various identities of students in our school.
The week began with teachers in all subject areas delivering a lesson celebrating diversity and using the incredible teaching resources provided by Just Like Us. At the same time, teachers in a variety of subject areas (including Drama, MFL, History, Maths and Science) created a stand-alone lesson celebrating diversity in all its forms. Our cake sale and face painting stalls were an incredible hit with our students! It was wonderful to see so many students coming into the Community Theatre, to buy a cake or have their faces painted while talking about diversity with our volunteers! On Tuesday, students from across the school joined together for a screening of School Diversity Week films and documentaries - prompting amazing discussions and reflections:
“I had no idea about some of the hardships and challenges LGBT+ people face around the world. I guess I just took it for granted that everyone was ok with people being gay and loving who they wanted to love…it frightens me to think that people are being killed just because they are gay!
“The film really opened my eyes to how hard it must be to have to ‘come out’ all of the time. That every day you need to declare that you’re gay just so you can take part in conversations or not have assumptions made about you. That must be really difficult- it would be great if we lived in a world where nobody ever had to come out at all!”
On Thursday, our Art department held a craft session making rainbow key rings, Pride bracelets and painted canvases. There was a great sense of creative community at this event and the students took great pride in what they had created!
“I loved making diversity bracelets and key rings today - School Diversity Week has been a really positive event and I’ve really enjoyed taking part!”
On our Sports Day the next week, over eighty students and staff wore rainbow laces!
We at Ash Green Academy have been so proud to be a part of School Diversity Week 2019 and are already making plans for an even bigger and better School Diversity Week 2020!