I am sure that we are all feeling some sense of relief to get to the exeat weekend. We have been reviewing our approach to Covid in the last few days, and please do read the article below, which outlines our current thinking. The priority for us is to be able to get to the end of this term without major disruption, but also while enabling the pupils (and parents) to have some events that they can enjoy during this time.
Meanwhile, in Assembly this week, I followed up the recent anti-bullying week by asking two of our prefects, Peter J and Debbie O, to speak to Years 9-11 about how important it is that one day of wearing odd socks is not the answer, and how important it is for all of us to recognise the importance of being a part of the change that is required to ensure that the school is a welcoming community for everyone. Debbie talked about the power of kindness, and the importance of understanding and acting on the Charter for Behaviour that was developed at the end of last year. Peter applauded those who are taking a stand already against behaviour that they see to be wrong, but asked that all of us did what we could to speak out when we see or hear things that we know to be wrong.
I talked about the experience of Azeem Rafiq at Yorkshire, and how as an organisation, Yorkshire CCC appeared to have let him down, with warnings of bullying and racist behaviour overlooked. The right culture is not easy to enforce, and requires input from other pupils and parents as well as staff. However, it is critical that all of the pupils do learn about the right values and culture at this stage, in part so that life at school is better for all, but also because the world that they go out into will not accept, so it is our responsibility to ensure that homophobia, misogyny, sexism, racism and general unkindness are not part of the culture at Felsted. Of course, this is easy to say, and we have to understand that young people will still make mistakes along the way, but this is why, as a community, we must call these mistakes out and address them.
I told the pupils that they will currently fit into one of three groups of people:
- they will have been unkind to someone else in recent weeks and need to stop now and start being kind to others
- they will have seen someone else being unkind to someone, and need to say something and not just stand by
- they are already being kind to others whenever they can be, and look out for friends and peers. They need to keep doing this and encourage others to do the same. They should never ignore it when people do not do this
If we all do this, it can help to make the school so much stronger, the community so much better, and all of our experiences at Felsted so much more positive. Houses and Tutors will be following up on these messages, and I would ask that parents talk to their daughters and sons about this as well, so that anti-bullying week is not just another date in the diary, but the catalyst for change and improvement.
Have a very good week.