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Our school community is marking National Inclusion Week and its 2022 theme: Time to Act, The Power of Now. This year’s theme highlights the importance of action to make inclusion an everyday reality. It’s a sentiment we champion year-round, but we took time this week to reflect and reaffirm our commitment.

Highgate Inclusion Societies
Pupils from some of our many societies joined assemblies this week

In the Senior School, Dr Enya Doyle, our Director of Inclusion, led assemblies alongside pupil representatives from some of the many societies. From Feminist Society, to Pride, Equalities, African Caribbean Cultural Affinity (ACCA) to the recently formed Neurodiversity and Southeast and East Asian (SEA) Societies, these pupil-led forums create a welcome place to connect and are open to all.

Zachary, Y9, is pupil leader of Equalities society, and says: Inclusion in Highgate means us all having safe spaces to be able to fully express our thoughts and share our ideas, I truly believe that at Highgate, and Equalities society, all of this is possible. It is a great, informative place that I feel lucky to be able to go to every other Monday and is a beautiful community that I would recommend to anyone.”

Pupils from Pride Society, who meet every Friday, explain that inclusion for them means visibility for the LGBTQ community – seeing others and being seen. They also pointed out the importance of feeling represented and heard, as well as actively seeking ways to help others feel included.

Kael, Y12, said: “Through my experience at different schools, I’ve learned that Highgate students are the most mature and welcoming. Truly, Highgate is the only place I’ve experienced where being yourself is encouraged and appreciated, I am always grateful to have joined Highgate.”

Pupil voice is central to our work on inclusion and there are many outlets for pupils and staff to work together and make changes around the School. One of these groups – the Wellbeing, Inclusion and Safeguarding Committee (WISC) – is currently working on the school’s anti-bullying policy. The Committee is chaired by two Y13 pupils who have also been instrumental in making significant changes as part of the PSHE curriculum in terms of racial inclusion.

Y3 and Y6 pupils team up to practice reading

Other events during Inclusion Week, included:

  • A Diversity and Inclusion coffee morning with parents of the Pre-Prep and Junior School attended by the Head, the Director of Inclusion, the senior leadership teams of both schools, the Director of Pupil-Wellbeing and Director of Safeguarding
  • Preparations for the popular One World Week event in the Pre-Prep – a celebration of diversity across the School and beyond
  • A Team-Building Day with our partner school at London Academy of Excellence, Tottenham
  • A Y12 talk from Stuart Lawrence – former teacher and brother of the late Stephen Lawrence – linked to his new book Silence is not an Option
  • An online presentation for both parents and staff about Autism, given by Dr Lucy Brown Wright, a Chartered Psychologist specialising in Neurodevelopment & Education
  • The launch of our whole school diversity and inclusion curriculum review to pupils – to assess progress so far on this project and help identify areas to develop further
  • Our Director of Inclusion Dr Enya Doyle will be speaking at the African Caribbean Education Network’s Anti-Racism Conference for Schools, discussing the importance of belonging. Other senior leaders from Highgate will also be attending

Dr Enya Doyle, Director of Inclusion, said: “National Inclusion Week has offered us the chance as a community to affirm our individual and collective commitment to making our School somewhere that everyone can feel that they belong. It has been a pleasure to witness the curiosity, enthusiasm, empathy, and reflectiveness with which it has been embraced here.”

Junior School pupils took part in sign-language drama workshops