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At Wimbledon High School we are actively trying to continue to build a diverse and inclusive school culture. We are committed to the GDST Undivided Charter for Action.
On Tuesday, 10 October 2023 we are hosting an event to build on diversity and inclusion here at school, and to encourage families of all heritages and backgrounds to apply to Wimbledon High School for their daughters. This is the third year in which we are hosting this event; we still lag behind the borough in terms of the numbers of Black children in particular who apply to us and take up places at 11+. We are working with the African and Caribbean Education Network (ACEN), and this event is one of the ways in which we are hoping to redress the imbalance.
Tuesday 10 October: 6.00pm to 8:00pm – talk and Q&A at 6.30pm.
We are looking forward to welcoming Dr Ama Collison, Educational and Child Psychologist and former student at Wimbledon High School, who will talk about her work with the wellbeing team at WHS to ensure that black students and those of different heritage are given the best possible support. Current parents will share their experiences and students will be available to chat to as well, alongside the Head and other senior leaders and our Admissions team.
Our intake at Year 7 for September 2022 was our most diverse yet, but we are of course not remotely complacent about the need to talk more about diversity, to continue with the powerful advocacy that students in recent years have helped inspire in us, to celebrate differences in race and heritage and to acknowledge and reflect on our position of privilege as we do so.
Pastorally, our diversity calendar has expanded, to ensure that we mark a range of religious festivals and events, and to allow students to share their culture and diversity within our community. Special menus and pop-up food stalls enhance the experience and, as you can imagine, are extremely popular!
Academically, we have scrutinised our curriculum and broadened it, to include more BAME voices, writings and experiences, within English, History and Music, with more to follow. We would love to see change in the national curriculum itself.
Head Fionnuala Kennedy said: "At Wimbledon High, we have always promoted a culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect. We embrace differences – visible and hidden – and want each student to feel valued, heard and able to express their sense of self. We believe that we must be candid and able to express and listen to difficult or uncomfortable opinions in order to make progress. An undivided community is a community which allows its members to speak up, and which learns to hear the experiences and feelings of others with empathy and understanding. We do not want to be the same as each other – we are unique individuals – but we do want to be united in our sense of mutual respect."
We launched our Civil Discourse programme into the curriculum (Years 7 - 13) in September 2021, encompassing a new approach to listening, debate and student voice, around this important issue as well as other critical issues: the environment, women’s rights, equality for the LGBT community and for those with neurodiversity and disabilities. Mandu Reid, leader of the British Women's Equality Party, contacted the school when she heard of our Civil Discourse initiative and has since (April 2022) appeared for a Q&A session with students and Fionnuala Kennedy. We have in recent years been privileged to be addressed by other inspirational speakers, such as Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Gina Miller, Afua Hirsch.