Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

At St. Paul’s Way Trust School, we are committed to our mission of making the school ‘the best place to learn in, the best place to work in and the best place to partner with.’

As part of this we are proud of the school’s approach to inclusion and diversity. We are steadfast in continuing to develop and improve our approach, so that we can progress as a community towards our collective vision of providing a transformational education for our young people.

Disability History Month and Deaf Awareness Assembly

For Disability History Month, students receive assemblies on hidden disabilities, teaching students about person-first and not disability-first language, what it is like to be a student who is deaf in our school, and what strategies we can all use to support each other.

This year UK Disability History month focuses on the Experience of Disablement amongst children and young people in the past, now, and what is needed for the future. UKDHM comes from a Social Model/Human Rights approach, so that all children and young people with long term impairment will not experience the social exclusion of stigma, stereotyping, negative attitudes and socially created barriers in the environment and the way things are organised. Please see the UKDHM website for more details.

Deaf Awareness Week 2024 will take place from 6th - 12th of May. It is an important time to promote understanding, inclusivity and support for the deaf community and celebrate diversity. Deaf Awareness Week is an opportunity for the DSB students to bring to light the barriers that people who are deaf face in society and awareness of the their communication needs as well as sharing helpful tips to make us a truly deaf friendly school. There will be student led assemblies during the week and opportunities for students to learn some BSL.

International Women’s Day Assembly

At SPW we believe International Women's Day on March 8th belongs to everyone. Each year for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month (March), we deliver assemblies across the school, to raise awareness of the past and future of gender parity. In a short video that was created and presented in assemblies, we heard from different staff members on the women that inspire them and the importance, for them, of celebrating Women’s History Month. We also complete an activity during form-time focusing on raising awareness on discrimination and celebrating women's achievement.

In addition, our Character Frameworks focus on Celebrating Equality. This is done by:

  • Speaking respectfully to and about other students
  • Giving all students an opportunity to contribute to all activities and discussions
  • Going above and beyond to celebrate International Women's Day.

In 2023, we co-ordinated our International Women’s Day awareness with fundraising for the local charity ‘Forgotten Women’, which supports women around the world in times of need. This was done by collecting donations and selling purple ribbons (a symbol associated with women’s rights and the Suffragette Movement) for students to wear on their lanyards. We aim to fundraise for this charity again in 2024.

Holocaust Memorial Day (27 Jan)

On Holocaust Memorial Day we commemorate the lives lost during the Holocaust as well as highlighting more recent genocides in places like Bosnia, Darfur and Rwanda. Each year we draw on resources and themes highlighted on the official HMD websites to deliver assemblies, form time sessions and displays on themes such as hope, freedom and resilience. Our library displays of literature recommendations which surround themes of genocide, the Holocaust, standing up to prejudice and discrimination. We shine a light on individual and collective stories to honour those that tried to resist or those that risked their lives to help Jewish people escape the horrors of the Nazis. We aim to instil moral and ethical norms in our students helping them to navigate the world in which they live in.

Interfaith Week

At SPW, we celebrate Interfaith Week as a time to highlight the brilliant work done by local and nationwide faith groups, as well as demonstrating the power of different faith groups working together to build community cohesion and tackle bigger issues. Interfaith Week is also an opportunity to emphasises the importance, both academically and spiritually, of learning about different faiths, which in turn allows us to overcome misconceptions and stereotypes which are so often the root of division in society.

In addition to celebrating Interfaith week, we recognise and mark holy festivals in line with the Interfaith calendar. Holy festivals, such as Ramadan, Eid, Easter, Chanukah, Diwali and Christmas, are explored in assembly as well as tutor time. Further to this, students at SPW express the value of community and understanding upon partaking in thematic events led by the Student Council, as well as dining together, to mark some of the festivals aforementioned.

Hate Crime Awareness: At SPW, Hate Crime Awareness is signposted ahead of Interfaith Week. Students are aware of the wide-ranging activities that take place around Tower Hamlets that they can participate in to support in tackling hate crime. SPW takes a zero-tolerance approach to hate related incidents.

LGBT+ History Month and Assembly

LGBT+ History Month, celebrated in February, is a chance to shed new light on the history of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in the UK. During this month we celebrate the history of LGBT+ communities, the progress made, people’s stories and many, wonderfully different identities. We are celebrating LGBT+ History Month with:

  • Whole-school displays celebrating a diverse range of LGBT+ role models
  • An assembly on LGBT+ History
  • Library displays of literature recommendations with LGBT+ themes.

At SPW, we celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion throughout the year. As part of our equalities work, all students, during the Summer term, will focus on learning more about LGBT+ identities in their Personal Development sessions, and we ensure that our RSE work incorporates is inclusive of LGBT+.

Black History Month

SPW celebrates black people who have contributed to the world through leadership and talent and this year specifically pioneering black women who have blazed a trail in academia, literature, business, social and health care, music, fashion, sport, social action and more.

We are celebration black history month through:

  • Assemblies
  • Tutor time activities
  • Displays
  • Curriculum.

School Council ‘My Culture and Me’

The School Council leads on the plans for the celebration of ‘Culture Day’ and the diverse school community we have, encouraging the school community to tell each other about their own cultures. It is built around two of our core values– integrity and community.

During form time, students learn about each other’s cultures and whatever that term may mean to them. Some students bring in personal items to show and explain, record videos or PowerPoints about their own heritage, or others show off traditional dress. At SPW, expression of culture is important and sharing this in a bigger and meaningful way would show just how much we value diversity and instil tolerance, acceptance and harmony in our school community.

World Book Day

We are developing a programme of events with a range of diverse authors, for instance in recent years we have hosted visits from Dr Attiya Khan, Bali Rai and others.

Dr Attiya Khan, who came to talk to our students, is author of Ten Steps to Us. Ten Steps to Us is a romance novel with themes of first love, frenemies, and toxic relationships featuring protagonist Aisha, a Muslim girl who falls for the new boy at school. Students in Year 7 engaged with a presentation from Dr Khan where she discussed her book as well as the importance of representation in literature as she shared that she wrote the book for her teen daughter who found it difficult to engage in reading as she did not see herself represented in the books that she read. Students asked insightful questions to learn more about Dr Khan's writing and publishing processes and were keen to read the book themselves as they attended a book signing in the library.

Bali Rai, a prolific author of children's and young adult books was raised as a working-class Punjabi in Leicester. During his inspiring visit he talked about the short stories and poetry he has been writing since the age of eight, motivating students to borrow and read his books from our library.

At St Paul's Way, we recognise the importance of representation in literature, and hope to work with other organisations to promote authors in future. For instance, in November our primary school took part in BookTrust Represents, a programme created to ‘promote and improve the representation of people of colour in children’s books so that all children read a range of books that reflect them and their wider communities.’ As part of the programme pupils took part in a virtual author event with author S F Said; in addition we were lucky to receive a full set of his book ‘Tyger’ which are available for students at both our secondary and primary schools. We are hoping to host further BookTrust events at both our primary and secondary schools over the coming year. It is our aspiration to develop a programme of events like these across both the primary and secondary sites and over time, for our students to have a shared vocabulary of authors and books that they can draw on throughout their school career.

Our school library holds a diverse range of stock to make sure that our pupils are exposed to different topics through an array of voices whilst also ensuring that they can see themselves represented in the books which they read. Reading books with accurate representation allows pupils to see the world through the eyes of someone else and encourages them to respect everyone's differences. The library displays posters of recommended reads throughout the school year to students which celebrate events including Black History Month, Women's History Month, LGBTQ+ History Month, Gypsy, Roman, Traveller History Month and Pride, with other displays including recommended books for reluctant readers, books to support mental wellbeing, and books to celebrate Muslim authors. We also have a growing collection of books explicitly linked to our Personal Development programme, that respond to the themes of the PSHE Curriculum across the school. Our online library catalogue, AccessIt, can be accessed by students from home to search for a variety of subjects and keywords. Our library team is always on hand to make a book recommendation and guide students to suitable resources to explore a range of topics.

"One way that children learn about the world around them and other cultures is through the social messages found in stories. Stories help children understand how society perceives their culture as well as the cultures of their classmates, teachers, caregivers, and others, thereby influencing their social and identity development." - American Library Association