Equality & Equity - Everyone is Welcome Here
It's been four months since tragic photographs of the lifeless body of a small Syrian boy adorned the front pages of the newspapers. The country shook their head; Facebook statuses were updated in support of the refugees; the Prime Minister made promises of help and support. "Refugees welcome here" was written on placards across Europe.
The headlines have retreated. As have many of the promises of support. Yet again the support for the most needy in society rests on those who are prepared to give their own time, effort and resources.
I often say to parents and visitors to the Academy that the Academy is a special place. I believe as an Academy we go further than most schools in making sure that our students can do what they are supposed to do in a school...learn.
Society is sadly not equal. When thinking about my own actions here I often focus on the cooperative values, particularly the value of equity. It is not a level playing field for many of our students at the Academy with many other students nationally. We believe that we have a moral duty to try and level that playing field as best we can. Working at the Academy gives everyone here a very clear moral purpose.
The Izone in the Academy is the hub of all of our inclusion practice. Much of this focuses on making sure that the students are ready to learn. Just in the past week our staff have washed uniforms; tied shoelaces; organised bags and equipment and organised dozens of students who need that extra bit of support every day. Anyone who has visited our Academy in the morning has commented on the small army of Year Managers; mentors; Heads of Year and Senior Staff that greet the students every morning. Sometimes it just a simple hello; sometimes we check uniform. Other times a student is given the one to one support they need to start the day.
This week our first family arrived fleeing from the present troubles in Syria.They had little more than the clothes that they stood up in when they got to the UK. The father is unable to work due to his status as an asylum seeker, despite the fact he has a chemistry degree. The family must survive on the £36 a week that the government gives them. Our immediate response is to welcome the student into our Academy family. Our value of equity makes sure that the young man is smart in his new school uniform and has the right PE kit. All of this is provided by the Academy so that the young man can enjoy being a teenager again and get on with his life. We do all of this because we want to enable him to do what he wants to do...learn.