In the aftermath of the Sarah Everard tragedy, we have been reflecting as a community on what lessons should be learned from this for us. At Felsted, we always believe that our education is about preparing young people to go out into the world, and seek to make a positive difference, and in reflecting on the testimonies that many women have shared about the fear that can overwhelm the community, the harassment that they have suffered, or even worse; the importance of developing young people to be the best that they can be, and of developing self-confidence, kindness and mutual supportiveness across our entire community becomes even more important. A fellow Head tweeted earlier this week:
A Yr 13 boy leaving today's assembly focusing on how we must work together to ensure every man treats women appropriately & with respect to dissipate a culture of fear:‘That was a controversial topic’.
A Yr 13 girl's cool, collected & assertive response:
‘It shouldn’t be’.
It certainly shouldn't be controversial, but that can only be achieved if the culture between boys and girls (or women and men) is a positive one, based on mutual respect. Today I have been talking with the School Prefects, whose passion to make Felsted the best that it can be is genuinely inspiring. We have been talking about ensuring that all students at the school aspire to be the best person that they can be, and that the Upper Sixth, as role models will take a lead on this.
As young men and women go through their time at school, they will learn a great many things. Nothing is more important than focusing on being the best person that they can be. Showing kindness and respect to others, being courageous and aspirational, being willing to see issues from different perspectives and show empathy: all of these are complex skills that take time and effort to nurture, but whether as parents, friends, siblings, or teachers, we have a duty to help one another to be better in all of these areas. We are not necessarily all part of the problem, but we can certainly be part of the solution.
Therefore, over the coming weeks, we will be working with our Upper Sixth formers, to leave an important legacy, in terms of what it means to be a Windsor's man, and a Garnetts woman. Our senior pupils will then work with younger pupils to take these qualities and characteristics, and pass on their experience to others in the school. The conversations are underway in the houses, and I hope will also take place at home, as we seek to set the highest standards of behaviour, the best attitudes, and the strongest possible community.
At Felsted, we are committed to ensuring that all of us are part of the solution, as we aim for all of us to be the best people that we can be.