VLT Equality and Diversity Week
From Monday 19th June, schools across the Vanguard Learning Trust took part in our first trust-wide Equality and Diversity week. This week, focused on celebrating the diverse cultures, backgrounds and identities of our school community, has been celebrated singularly at Ruislip High School in previous years, so we were very excited to share the week with schools across the trust.
At Ruislip High School, the week saw students taking part in a range of activities and talks relevant to the week. Year 8 students took part in an Indian classical dance workshop run by the SBDC dance company. The workshop began by teaching all students basic skills and built up to groups learning a complete dance routine by the end of the session. The students had lots of fun learning this new skill and took part in the workshop enthusiastically. Connor, Year 8, told us: “The dance workshop was amazing! I was a bit shy at first, but then once I got involved it was fun.”
Meanwhile, Year 9 students had the chance to take part in a cultural cooking workshop, learning how to make a couscous salad. During the sessions, mostly led by Ms Poddar, the students gained new chopping skills - by the end they could give Jamie Oliver a run for his money! Luke, Year 9, commented: “I have never had couscous in my life before, so thank you for introducing me to it. I really liked it and would be keen to have it at home again.”
On Friday 23rd June, the Year 12 students got to attend a Q&A with Raheem Payne-Mir. Raheem came to talk to the students about his experiences growing up in North West London as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and the importance of intersectionality when considering equality. The students thoroughly enjoyed his lively talk - and were very excited to hear about his current job touring with artist Becky Hill.
Finally, one of the most exciting moments of the week took place on Wednesday 21st June, where Ruislip High School celebrated its first ever ‘Cultural Day’ with the Sixth Form. On this day, staff and sixth form students dressed up in their cultural clothes and explained stories behind their clothes to their peers. There was a lovely atmosphere throughout the day, with students wearing clothing representing their cultural heritage with pride and all showing respect to one another and take an interest in everyone’s culture. Jiya, Year 12, said: “I am proud to celebrate the diversity in our school. Being able to wear my cultural clothes in school has been fantastic - this should happen every year!”
Equally, Miss Sakr, a member of the English department who chose to dress in her cultural clothes for the day, stated: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the students and staff to start conversations about each other’s culture - which can lead to RHS becoming an even more inclusive environment.”
Overall, the Equality and Diversity week was a fantastic success and provided our students with a range of memorable experiences, which helped them to consider how wonderful it is to attend a school that celebrates diversity, whilst remaining unified.