Respect for All
Strathallan School has always aspired to be a place where education can be enjoyed and opportunities are provided for all. This looks a bit different in the 21st century but the School’s central ethos and core values remain as important in today’s fight for equality as they did over 100 years ago. Today, Strathallan takes these responsibilities very seriously, and our commitment to tackling inequality and promoting belonging and connectedness can be seen in everything we do, from our sector-leading pastoral care to an academic curriculum that promotes tolerance, fosters respect, and actively tackles inequality in our community and around the world.
Our values of Respect, Honesty, Hard Work, Kindness, Excellence and Humility are underpinned by the universal value of Love, naturally promoting inclusion, tolerance and diversity. By articulating and promoting these core values through assemblies, Chapel, the curriculum and the house tutoring and mentoring systems, the School seeks to encourage and engender within our community the behaviours and understanding that challenge prejudice based on race, ethnicity, religion, ability or identity.
We recognise that these complex issues cannot be resolved through any single action or initiative, and are committed to continued scrutiny and improvement in response to new evidence and discussions. Our core value of Respect is central to this work, and we intend to continue our education surrounding respect in the following ways:
- Age-appropriate talks including outside speakers on topics including but not limited to: (images on) social media, appropriate use of smartphones and collaboration with community police liaison officer to speak directly to pupils about their age and the laws relating to abusive behaviours and consent.
- A staff working group on equality and respect is being established to work towards further proposals for ongoing culture change relating to diversity, gender, racism and other forms of abusive behaviour.
- Refresher training for all staff specifically on unconscious bias, sexism and equality is being organised to look at ‘classroom culture’, co-curricular behaviour and positive role-modelling.
- Continuing to provide all staff training in related topics, including relevant legislation, Safeguarding/Child Protection, confidentiality, gender identity and tackling transphobia and inequality.
Student representation and co-education leadership is part of what makes Strathallan stand out. We are listening to input from across our pupil body, and have or will be implementing a number of changes based on feedback, including:
- Offering onsite counselling for all pupils who wish to speak to an independent expert, however, we are also keen to reiterate that all our staff remain open, ready to listen and most importantly act appropriately to all pupil concerns.
- Continuing to provide staff training in all related topics, including relevant legislation, Safeguarding/Child Protection, confidentiality, gender identity and tackling transphobia and inequality.
- Continuing to encourage our Peer Mentors, School Authority and co-curricular leaders in helping to improve our school.
- Alongside our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, formally establishing Girls and Boys Committees to best allow current students more representation and nurture suggestions and age-appropriate discussions on what matters most to them.
Strathallan launched its first Inclusion and Diversity Committee in September 2020. This committee is made up of both pupils and staff representative of the diverse demographics of the school as a whole – there are over 200 teachings and support staff and over 40 nationalities and every world religion, including atheism and agnostics, represented within the 550-strong pupil body. The Committee has committed to the following:
- Evaluating the School’s existing Inclusion, Equality and Diversity Policy to suggest both pertinent amendments and practical outcomes to enable the Policy to be active, live and impactful
- Considering the co-curricular provision of the school as an important way in which we can both reflect on and be sensitive to the needs and experiences of our diverse community
- Establishing a programme of guest speakers, either in person or online, invited both for their individual expertise and ability to enrich and inform our pupils as well as their ability to reflect the diversity in the school and the broad backgrounds from which our pupils come. This programme will be designed in such a manner as to ensure that all our pupils voices and experiences are reflected, and that everyone feels values, respected, and that they belong
- Supporting ongoing discussions and decision-making about the appropriateness and value of curriculum content as pertains to issues of equality and diversity
On Racism and BLM
In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd and subsequent mounting pressure on governments from the Black Lives Matter movement around the world, institutions have been subject to intense scrutiny over their roles in perpetuating or tackling inequality and dismantling systemic racism. The education system has a vital role to play in this. Strathallan has been and actively continues to examine and determine what more we can do to confront prejudice wherever it exists within our community. The following considerations are now explicitly part our ongoing discussions:
- Seeking suggestions from the Inclusion and Diversity Committee’s for how the School can take forward and implement more explicitly our Equality agenda in tackling racism in all its forms and supporting our BAME pupils and staff
- Reflecting on the content of the academic curriculum and seeking input from across the School community on how this content reflects current issues and discussions of race and racism
- Discussing and making decisions about how we prepare pupils for life after school in a diverse and global society
- Reviewing school policies and procedures relating to race, BLM, inclusion, diversity and the promotion of these issues
- Including these issues in PSD at an earlier stage
- Using MUN, Debating and Pubic Speaking to engage pupils in the ideas and issues that lead to better understanding of race, religion, cultural diversity and inclusion
- Considering the Exam boards’ reading and text lists and lobbying where appropriate for the inclusion of culturally diverse and BAME authors
- Reviewing current Library stock to ensure the promotion of materials that work in sympathy with and assist the policies of the school in relation to inclusion and diversity
On Identity and Gender
Strathallan is committed to being fair and inclusive and to ensuring every member of our community feels safe, respected and valued during their time here. This means giving support and understanding to everyone, regardless of their sex, gender or identity. The School aims to actively create an LGBT+-inclusive culture, workplace and learning environment, free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect in their own gender identity and expression.
Strathallan expects all staff and pupils to be treated with kindness, honesty, fairness, dignity and respect. Our aim is to create a community that is supportive to such individual needs and provides a professional and consistent service so that all members of the school feel welcome, safe, valued and supported in achieving their potential and contributing as a member of the school. To achieve this, the School has committed to the following:
- Reviewing policies and procedures in relation to gender identity and expression in order to anticipate and positively respond to the needs of students, staff and alumni
- Providing staff training in all related topics, including relevant legislation, safeguarding/Child Protection, confidentiality, gender identity and tackling transphobia
- Creating a positive learning environment and reviewing curriculum content and teaching practices to support LGBTQ youth, affirm their identities, and advance equity and respect for all
- Responding to concerns and handling any bullying or harassment as grounds for disciplinary action, which will be dealt with under the School’s disciplinary policies
Strathallan has always strived to be at the forefront of change, and we will always be looking for new ways to improve. We are on a journey still, and have the drive, commitment and determination to keep moving our culture, respect and inclusion ever-forward. We have achieved much already, but will never be 'done' and will continue to do what is morally and ethically right to ensure the journey continues in the right direction. As an example, some of the initiatives we have implemented in the last few years include:
- Clearly establishing our School’s values, and ensuring these are articulated and promoted throughout our daily lives. These now appear more explicitly in the Pupil Guide and in how we articulate expectations of behaviour in both formal and informal discussions and communication with pupils.
- Restructuring and creating more pupil committees and councils to increase pupil voice and representation. The minutes of these committees and councils now go to Senior Staff meetings and are reflected in Governor Reports to ensure pupils voice is connected explicitly to Governance, the latter of which holds school staff to account.
- More frequent use of anonymous pupil questionnaires, discussed in staff meetings and reported to Governors’ Committees, with feedback to pupils about what they have asked for or reflected upon to us and what we have done in response.
- Updating and adding to School policies and protocols.
- The evolving composition of the School’s teaching staff to reflect a more diverse society.
- Updating and altering the PSD programmes to ensure that current issues are considered in an age-appropriate and sensitive manner, ensuring expert voices on these complex and interdependent issues through an expanding programme of outside speakers.
- Giving Peer Mentors a greater role and voice in the school's approach to these issues.
- Regularly working with external agencies, including the Police, in tackling issues related to equality and respect.
- Regularly discussing with parents external party arrangements to advise on what we believe is appropriate at different ages and stages.
All our staff receive training to handle concerns on all of these issues, and pupils should feel able to approach any member of staff and expect to be treated with sensitivity and respect.
The following resources may also help anyone who has concerns about the issues raised here:
NSPCC Report Abuse Helpline: 0800 136663