We have all seen reports of the unlawful killing of George Floyd and the protests that have followed across the world. It has led many of us to reflect on our own communities and how we could and should be doing more. As a Principal, the events of the past few weeks have made me look at how we address the issues of prejudice, diversity and equality at ESMS.
It isn’t enough to tackle the things that we see because racism and prejudice often go unseen and unheard. Instead we need to look at our core values, attitudes and beliefs to ensure that we have an informed understanding of how things are, where we want to be and crucially how we can do better because there is always more to do.
This cannot be achieved by a quick review of our policies and the announcement of a few initiatives. If we want to create systemic, meaningful change over the long-term we need to listen to the views and experiences of those that have been affected by prejudice and discrimination and we will need external counsel to help steer our response.
I had intended to introduce our Equality and Diversity Programme next session but I have decided we need to accelerate this important work. As a first step I have set up a partnership with Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) to review our culture and help us shape and deliver change. We have published a proposed framework for our Equality and Diversity Programme to drive change over the next 12 months and I am now asking pupils, former pupils and parents to feedback on this and to share their ideas on how we can improve our approach. Feedback should be sent, before 30 June. It can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or for those that would be more comfortable speaking to a third party please contact Edinburgh & Lothians Regional Equality Council (tel: 0131 556 0441 or email email@example.com).
Proposed framework for the ESMS Equality and Diversity Programme
1. External partnership: a partnership with Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) to review our culture and set out recommendations for change. ELREC will also act as a critical friend and a long-term partner for us on this journey
2. Listening exercise: a School wide listening exercise to understand the views and experiences of pupils, parents and staff on equality and diversity issues across the Schools
3. BAME representation: improve the representation of our BAME community within the Schools, with the guidance of pupils themselves
4. Staff training: build on the LGBTQ+ training for all staff to include a wider range of diversity and equality issues, offer guidance on best practice and help foster an inclusive School environment
5. Curriculum review: a review of the curriculum to ensure that it reflects the diversity of faith, culture, ethnicity, gender and sex of our students and the world that we live in and celebrates diversity and equality
6. Third party reporting: introduction of a third-party reporting procedure to enable pupils and staff to speak out about incidences of racism, homophobia, xenophobia and sexism in a confidential and secure way
7. Equality and diversity education: an independent review of the equality and diversity of the education and resources we use from Nursery to S6.
Mrs Linda Moule, Principal of ESMS