We are listening. We are learning. We are acting.

The events which have unfolded following the death of George Floyd whilst in police custody have once again highlighted how far we are as a society from achieving race equality. I know that many members of our CHS community have been deeply affected by the news and I wanted to outline the actions we are taking to support people at this time.

As a School, it isn’t enough to say that we value diversity or to speak about inclusion in general terms. We must also listen and be clear in our words and our actions to ensure CHS remains a positive, diverse and respectful place for everyone, both now and in the future. Through our Waconian Values, curriculum and pastoral programmes we promote respect, integrity, celebrate diversity and reinforce that racism and any other form of intolerance has no place in our School. That said, we are committed to doing more to educate ourselves and those around us.

We are providing time during form periods and dedicated assemblies for our young people to discuss and work through their own thoughts and feelings. Pupils will also have the opportunity to talk about the event and its implications, for themselves and the wider community in their Waconian Programme lessons. Our Junior School pupils are receiving information and links to age-appropriate material through our Learning 4 Life programme, and those in School are being given the opportunity to discuss the events and issues with their teachers.

Over the coming weeks we will be hosting a series of focus groups, for pupils of all ages; with the CHS pupil-run Equality Society; with the School Council and with Old Waconians to share their thoughts on the policies and practices we have in place, to ensure that no member of the CHS community feels discriminated against because of characteristics such as: race, ethnicity, gender, belief or sexuality. We will teach pupils to stand up to and challenge intolerance in others to ensure our whole community feels safe and respected, at all times, and that prejudice is never excused or trivialised in any circumstances.

The School takes the issue of inequality in all forms very seriously and does take proactive steps to educate its pupils so they can reflect this in their attitudes and behaviours whilst at CHS and beyond. Whilst many areas of the academic and pastoral programmes already deal explicitly with raising awareness of inequality and diversity, we are always willing to reflect and review what we provide in order that we can best prepare our young people to be aware, tolerant, and fair members of society.

We recognise that this is a challenging subject for some people. It is understandable that we might be tempted to shy away from discussing this subject for fear of saying the wrong thing, or unintentionally causing offence and highlighting our own ignorance. It is imperative, however, that we find the words and work through these challenging times together.

In support of this, we have provided a number of resources which you may find useful. We will keep adding to these as part of our ongoing commitment to educating our whole community.

We are clear that racism and discrimination have no place in society and no place in our School.

Race equality is everyone’s business and I wanted, at this time, to say very clearly that we recognise our own responsibilities to demonstrate its importance in our School.

Mr Neil Smith

CHS Head