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Choose to Challenge: Dr Burley's message to students

Choose to Challenge and Be an Upstander  

Our students have responded to recent events as they always do – with commitment, energy, and a drive to make the world around them a better place, as highlighted by the growth in student-led groups, such as the Foundation Equality Working Party, Interfaith Council, and National Council for Young Women.   

This is the message Head Master, Dr Burley shared this week: 

Dear Students,   

I wanted to write to you because I have been very proud of your work to share ideas and promote discussion and action in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder. This tragic event has placed into sharp focus for us all the lived experiences of girls and women in our community and across the country.   

We are therefore at an important moment as a school and as a Foundation family of schools in our ongoing work to protect women’s rights and to promote justice and equality. In doing this, it is vital that we all feel confident that we can be upstanders in calling out injustice and challenging those whose behaviour or language makes others feel unsafe or intimidated.    

As I emphasised in my assembly on Friday, the theme of International Women’s Day – Choose to Challenge – has never been more important as we work together to create a better world, a better society and a better community for all. We have discussed the idea of Changemaking, and we have celebrated the work of Changemakers both in and beyond our community – this is a moment where positive discussion and action can generate vital change in society.   

Thank you to everyone who has written to me and who has shared thoughts and ideas on the most effective next steps in this ongoing process. I have had so many inspiring conversations with students and staff at Kings’ High and across our Foundation about practical ideas and plans to forge positive change.   

Following on from these discussions, each Key Stage will have or has had a dedicated assembly this week and allocated time in forms to share ideas and contribute to the discussions and plans. Warwick School will also have a dedicated assembly and the Foundation Equality Working Party across the two schools will be leading on these and other arrangements. This will include opportunities for further conversations between students across the schools. Thank you for the messages you have placed around school as part of your reflections on the Mindful Mile activity during form time. We are also making plans for events and activities in the Summer Term to enable us to build on the valuable momentum that we have developed to bring about real and lasting change.   

I am very keen to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard and that you are all able to contribute positively to this vital work. Please do get in touch, come to see me, or anyone in the senior team or your teachers, or join one of the many groups that we have that are working hard and doing excellent work to promote equality and social justice and to challenge and confront discrimination, prejudice and violence.   

Thank you again for all you are doing.   

Best wishes,   

Dr Burley