Protected Characteristics

Helen McClure, Headmistress

20th November 2023

At Solefield, we promote equality and celebrate diversity in all its forms.  As the mother of a mixed-race teenage daughter, this is a topic that lies particularly close to my heart. I reflect on how lucky we are to have such an amazing and rich cultural mix at Solefield School, with 20% of our pupils speaking a second, or third, language in the family home. I am extremely grateful to all those parents who come to school to share the beauty of different cultures with the children and open their eyes to the beauty of the wider world. In true Solefield style, our Diwali assembly and quiz were delivered with confidence and intelligence by three of our younger pupils and enjoyed by everyone.   

As a school, we focus on high quality pastoral care, kindness, tolerance, and social justice. This term, our Solefield Independent Project focused on Protected Characteristics. Over 30% of our school have taken part, producing posters and stories. These have been displayed and discussed in assembly.  

We explore the impact of systemic prejudice and stereotyping. While this is a serious theme, please rest assured that we introduce students to it in an age-appropriate way.  We want to equip our pupils with the knowledge they need to both be aware of and combat prejudice and uphold Fundamental British Values. All of this underlines that we want our pupils to be aware of inequality, to understand its causes and effects and to be committed to doing something about it. 

Throughout the curriculum and most particularly in RSHE (Relationships, Sex and Health Education), TPR (Theology, Philosophy & Religion) & RS (Religious Studies) and in PPE (Politics, Philosophy & Ethics), pupils focus on contemporary issues of race, religion, gender, disability, sexism, sexuality, ageism, poverty and the environment. We incorporate texts and articles in lessons including varied voices and themes and strive to make our school environment diverse and stimulating in activities and displays. Our EDI (Equality, Diversity, Inclusion) Committee meets very regularly, feeding back to the whole school in assemblies and form times. 

Our discussions in a variety of subjects, our frequent pastoral sessions and form times, year group assemblies and debates are characterised by free-flowing open dialogue and respectful discussion and we investigate and celebrate diversity in all its forms. 

Our Enrichment Weeks have helped us to explore a variety of other cultures; one of these was based around our work with a school in Malawi where we send resources and help to train teachers.   

“Value yourself, value others, value our world” sits at the heart of all that we do at Solefield.   We take our duties towards broader society seriously. Challenging prejudice in any form must be part of that and this must include significant and ongoing self-reflection on our part. 

Helen McClure