New Hall School’s commitment to equality & diversity is based on the Gospel values expressed in its Mission & Ethos Statement:
New Hall, a Catholic boarding and day school, provides
the best start in life, enabling students
to meet confidently the challenges of the wider world.
Here academic excellence is achieved in surroundings
where relationships are based on
care, trust and respect.
We welcome students from many traditions,
building a Christian community that has at its heart
prayer and service to others.
At the heart of our foundation is the faith that is essential to the character of the School. Everyone is expected to respect and support the School’s Catholic ethos. The School is a Catholic community that welcomes students and staff with different beliefs, religions, backgrounds and cultures who support its ethos.
Inspired by Christ, we strive to provide equality of opportunity for all members of our School community. The School expects that students and staff respect those of different backgrounds e.g. race, culture, ethnicity, religion or beliefs, colour, nationality, national or ethnic origins. The School seeks to ensure that there is no unfair discrimination based on individual characteristics, e.g. on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, transgender, gender identity/fluidity. The School fosters a strong sense of community, which has a particular and important international dimension.
New Hall is committed to an accurate and positive representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people and culture in the curriculum. This commitment is built upon our Catholic ethos which values the inherent dignity of every person. With the killing of George Floyd in America and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, 2020 was a year that saw issues of racial inequality brought into sharper focus. We recognise that the New Hall curriculum needs to reflect the need for greater inclusivity as we seek to enable students to meet confidently the challenges of the wider world. As a multi-ethnic and diverse community, we want to ensure that a clearer focus is given to tackling the injustice of racism and discrimination in all forms. Education is an indispensable antidote to the ignorance of racism.
Pre-Prep pupils enjoying Outdoor Learning
In light of the School’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity, a thorough review of the curriculum has taken place to explore ways in which BAME people and issues are taught and celebrated across all divisions at New Hall. This is an ongoing process and all academic departments are committed to our collective responsibility to improve BAME representation. The following provides some examples of changes that have been made, from September 2020:
- In RE and Theology a greater emphasis is given to saints and theologians from BAME backgrounds (e.g. St Anthony the Great of Thebes, St Anthony Vieira SJ, St Augustine, St Benedict the Moor, St Bessarion, St Felicitas, St Perpetua, St Josephine Bakhita, St Katherine Drexel, St Martin de Porres, St Monica of Tegaste).
- In Mathematics, the cultural context from which numbers originate (e.g. Egyptian and Arabic) is emphasised. Africa is home to the world’s earliest use of measuring and calculation. Thousands of years ago Africans were using numerals, algebra and geometry in daily life. Rangoli patterns and Islamic art will be studied for their links to mathematical patterns. In Year 9, the scheme of work explores Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, the ‘Father of Algebra’, who was a 9th century Muslim mathematician and astronomer. He also developed the concept of the algorithm in mathematics, which is why some have called him the ‘grandfather of computer science’. Katherine Johnson, the African-American mathematician and computer scientist who worked for NASA, also features as part of the scheme of work.
- The PSHEE programme, throughout all Divisions at New Hall, is diverse and representative of all ethnicities For instance, in the Preparatory Divisions through the topics Living in the Wider World (Britain, Respecting Rights and One World) staff discuss BAME history, diversity within our own society and other cultures. The topics include: ‘What is Racism?’, ‘Embrace our differences’ and ‘Human Rights’.
- The Design & Technology scheme of work has explicit links to equality and diversity for all year groups in the Preparatory Divisions. For instance, Muhammad Ali is taught when making butterflies with Reception children, and Nadiya Hussain (winner of the Great British Bake Off) when making cupcakes with Year 3.
- The English Department has adapted the schemes of work for 2020 to reflect BAME people and culture. In Year 7, persuasive writing is taught by reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr, President Obama and Oprah Winfrey and the students also explore the poetry of Benjamin Zephaniah. In Year 8, students now read and analyse Mildred D Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This novel explores ideas about racism in America during the Great Depression. Prior to this year, only half of the year group read and analysed this text, while the other half read and analysed John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. All students will now read and engage with the issues raised by this text by an African American writer. More of a focus upon BAME writers has been introduced into lessons in preparation for the ‘Unseen Poetry’ aspect of the GCSE. The English Department has subscribed to a digital theatre website to allow access to modern film versions of the set texts which include a greater representation of BAME actors. In particular, the National Theatre version of Twelfth Night features black actors Daniel Ezra and Tamara Lawrance’s stunning performances as key characters, Sebastian and Viola. The decision has been made to switch the main coursework text in Year 12 from Sebastian Barry’s A Long Long Way to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, a coming of age novel set in Nigeria.
- The ICT and Computer Science schemes of work celebrate the contributions of BAME experts such as Jeremiah Onaolapo, Anne-Marie Imafidon and Lisa Gelobter.
- In A Level Business, significant changes to the scheme of work have allowed for greater BAME representation. These include business leaders Satya Nadella, Jack Ma and Rosalind Brewer (CEO Starbucks). During Black History month, Miss Walters sent out reading material on successful entrepreneurs and business people from a BAME background and students created presentations/videos during meetings of Business Society.
- Science lessons throughout New Hall have introduced more opportunities to celebrate scientists from a BAME background. For instance, in Physics, Ibn al-Haytham – Middle Eastern mathematician and optics specialist are taught. He was the first to explain that vision occurs when light reflects from an object and then passes to one’s eyes. Charles Kao who pioneered the development of lasers and fibre optic communications has also been added to the schemes of work.
Equality & Diversity is fundamental in our Early Years provision, as children are influenced by their environment from as young as 18 months. In the Nursery we celebrate every child’s individuality, recognising their achievements with praise and encouragement. We work to create positive parent partnerships to help us celebrate all of the different cultures and heritage represented by our children and their families. We seek to ensure that our resources reflect each child within our Nursery in everyday books and toys, as it is important that children feel represented and can see themselves.
This year we launched our newest student group: Corpus, a group designed to celebrate and discuss equality & diversity. In this video, we see the club leaders, Mr Agbongbon and Miss Webb launching the first session in Denford Bar. All Senior Divisions and Sixth Form students are welcome to join. Please get in touch with Mr Agbongbon or Miss Webb for more information.
Mrs Reynolds, Mr Agbongbon and Mr Trowell will be hosting a Corpus group for the Preparatory Division in the second half of the Lent Term.
Corpus’ first meeting
Corpus’ first meeting
Corpus continued to meet during the remote learning period
From April 2020 to July 2021, Mrs Jeffrey has set up and hosted a half-termly parent forum, specifically for engagement with parents on issues relating to equality & diversity, with a special focus on ethnic inclusion and challenging racism. This has been a successful and supportive group, which has generated many creative ideas, such as those that have been implemented as described above.