Working at Dixie for the last sixteen years, I have always hoped and believed that we offer an environment that is tolerant, inclusive and welcoming to all. Certainly, the ‘Dixie family atmosphere’ was one of the things that first attracted me to the school back in 2004, an important factor in my decision to leave a large urban Secondary. But we should never confuse being a small school with being a homogenous one – like the wider society of which we are part, we are a diverse community of people of different faiths, ethnicities, genders, sexualities and abilities.
The world moves on. It is clearly not sufficient, for example, for me as a white male to simply ‘hope’ or ‘believe’ that we are inclusive and welcoming to students (or staff) of a different ethnicity or gender. If we are to be a school where everyone feels that their identity is valued, then it is vital that we actively challenge ourselves to ensure that this is the case.
Following conversations with students both past and present, Dixie is therefore seeking to reaffirm its commitment to diversity. 2021 sees the launch of our ‘Diversity Calendar’ – which can be found on our website and a link to which is provided at the end of this blog. This is a public statement of our commitment to diversity and to ensuring that Dixie is a supportive environment for all. In practical terms, it is a commitment to marking important dates in the calendars of world religions, alongside events associated with race, gender, sexuality and disability. We will seek to mark these key dates in a variety of ways – through assemblies, form time activities and curriculum provision – with the stated aim that all students have the opportunity to see the inherent value in our diversity and that all students, whatever their background or identity, see Dixie as a place where they are safe, respected and valued.
A few weeks ago, my assembly focused on Holocaust Memorial Day – the first date in our 2021 Diversity Calendar. It was a highly appropriate occasion upon which to launch our diversity pledge – a sobering reminder of the consequences that can occur when diversity is not celebrated, but rather feared; of how fear and hatred can drive persecution on an almost unimaginable scale. The Diversity Calendar is Dixie’s visible commitment to a welcoming and inclusive environment that celebrates diversity as strength.
Back in 2004, I believed that Dixie was an inclusive school with a family atmosphere and I am proud that in 2021 we will be demonstrating the richness and diversity of that family.
Dixie Diversity Calendar 2021
- Holocaust Memorial Day 27 Jan
- Chinese New Year 12 Feb
- International Women’s Day 8 March
- Easter 22 March
- Eid al-Fitr (Islam) 13 May
- Mental Health Awareness Week 17 May
- Pride Month 1 June
- Autistic Pride Day 18 June
- Disability Awareness Day (will need to be marked before end of term) 12 July
- Black History Month 1 October
- Diwali (Hindu) 4 November
- Guru Nanak birthday (Sikh) 19 November
- Hanukkah (Jewish) 6 December
- Advent and Christmas December