“For a better tomorrow”

“For a better tomorrow”

QE’s Perspective team explained what equality, diversity and inclusion mean for them in a series of videos produced to help tutor groups mark national School Diversity Week and international Pride Month.

The videos featured each member of the six-strong Year 12 team heading Perspective, a pupil-led initiative launched last year in the wake of the BLM protests, which seeks to help QE pupils develop a holistic understanding of important social issues.

The films formed part of an online pack produced by Perspective that tutors were encouraged to use with their tutor groups. Members of the Perspective team have also been selling rainbow ribbons to raise funds for an LGBTQ+ charity.

Michael Feven, Assistant Head (Pupil Development), said: “I congratulate our Perspective team for the excellent job they have done in raising awareness and stimulating discussion throughout the School during School Diversity Week – an annual celebration of LGBT+ equality in education – and  Pride Month.”

In their videos, as well as mentioning LGBT+ issues such as mental health and the use of pronouns, the Perspective team members touched on other important topics, such as Black Lives Matter and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Ambassador Janison Jeyaventhan told his fellow Elizabethans that he hoped to make them more aware of these issues: “I wanted to be an EDI Ambassador to… inspire people like you to be part of that change for a better tomorrow.”

EDI Ambassador Ciaran Price highlighted mental health, pointing to statistics indicating that twice as many LGBT+ school pupils struggle with their mental health compared to the schools’ population at large. “Think about that: two times more likely in a year when lockdowns and a changing world has added so much stress to already-hectic school lives.”

Manomay Lala-Raykar, one of two School Vice-Captains with responsibility for managing EDI, urged fellow pupils to do some “very small things…to make a difference”, such as donating to LGBT+ causes, “educating friends and family” and changing the language that they use.

EDI Ambassador Jayden Savage felt there remained more to do: “As students who go to an all-boys School and are in our own little bubble that seems protected and blind to issues that don’t affect us, there is a lot we miss out on and don’t engage with.”

Christan Emmanuel, who is also an EDI Ambassador, said he valued Perspective because it increased empathy among his fellow pupils. And Aadarsh Khimasia, a School Vice-Captain with responsibility for managing EDI, said he appreciated it because Perspective provided “an equal say and opportunity to speak to all”, giving him the chance, for example, to talk about animal rights, a subject close to his heart.

In addition to the videos, the pack featured five questions designed to foster discussion within tutor groups:

  1. What actions could we take as individuals to ensure that our school is inclusive for those identifying as LGBTQ+?
  2. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of going to a single-sex school in terms of promoting equality, diversity & inclusion?
  3. Is it important to be aware of different issues and causes around the world? Why?/Why not?
  4. How reliable is social media for learning about issues/causes?
  5. Are there issues that you care about? If so, what are they, and why are they important to you?

The pack also provided links to: Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity behind School Diversity Week, to LGBTQ+ rights organisation Stonewall, to MindOut, an LGBTQ mental health charity, as well as links to Kooth, an online mental wellbeing community.