Culture Day 2023

We celebrated our second Culture Day and it was fantastic to have such a positive atmosphere of celebration and learning. Students and staff were invited to wear cultural dress if they so wished or wear colours of their flag; it was wonderful to see such an array of saris, kurta pajamas, football shirts, and influences from so many different parts of the world and backgrounds: Polish, Japanese and Australian to name but a few.

The day was led and organised by Simone Holder, the Diversity Prefect and supported by the prefect team and Diversity Society and Ms Doyle, Assistant Headteacher. Simone visited different form rooms with Mr Sutherland to see their competition entries where they had come together to create pieces that explored their different heritages and identities. Collective form group cookery books, art displays, bake offs and many others, all were put forward. Many students also took the opportunity to share, bringing in food and items to discuss, one student bought in Serbian bread and dip for her peers and staff.

The school was dressed with flags and posters with different messages of positivity and motivation- some of which are included here. In form-time, students discussed different figures: some watched Lemm Sissay’s poem ‘Toast’ - a poem that celebrates what small things unite us and bring us together. Lemm Sissay is a BAFTA nominated International prize winning writer who has won an MBE for services to Literature. Sissay grew up in care in very difficult circumstances and does a lot of work for bringing communities together, in particular his ‘Quilts for Carers’ initiative that seeks to ensure young people leaving care have both a homemade quilt and a Christmas dinner with their community and do not feel alone. Other tutors talked about either their own backgrounds and heritage, be it from another country or from different parts of the UK and what ‘culture’ means to them. Earlier in the week, students watched the Richard Dimbleby Lecture (2023) where David Harwood (British actor and director who was awarded an OBE), explored the challenges overcome by his parents’ generation and his own personal journey on the 75th anniversary of the Empire Windrush arriving in this country.

Year 12 received a talk from Hashi Mohamed, (barrister, author of ‘People Like Us’ and a ‘Home of One’s Own’ and broadcaster). He spoke about his career, aspiration and how his own life experiences influenced his choices and work. Mohamed was born in Kenya and came to England as a refugee following the death of his father; he studied in London comprehensives and lived in impoverished housing before he went to university. He reminded the students of following their interests and embracing life experiences, being open to change and accepting both the good and the bad as it shapes us as individuals.

Year 10, meanwhile, had an array of speakers as part of their REPS day. The speakers presented on the themes of ‘Crime and Punishment’ and ‘Religion and Resilience’. In the morning, they heard from a prison chaplain, magistrates and an ex-police officer. They also took part in a town hall event where they were able to ask our speakers questions. In the afternoon, students were able to consider the issue of managing stress through building resilience. They heard from representatives from different religions and worldviews such as Islam, Hinduism and Christianity as well as non-religious ideas.

During lessons, teachers took the time to explore different musicians, artists and influences. Ms Warrick, in the library, shared different folk stories and asked students to share others that they had heard of. The canteen put on a huge selection of food from different cultures and celebrated Eid, while Simone and the society provided a tuck shop and fun activities for an extended lunch including face painting and henna tattoos.

All enjoyed the day and took a lot from it, coming together and sharing ideas, perspectives and fun.



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