This message comes from my heart to my students and their parents, to my teachers, and to any visitors, both past and present.
We have always been an open, welcoming school, our aim being to foster developing talent.
We have always been forward thinking, ready to take on new initiatives and to respond with openness and honesty. We are wholeheartedly in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and we are listening.
We understand that there is more that all of us can do, both as a school and as a society.
It is not enough to remain silent.
We believe that the Black Lives Matter Movement will bring about genuine long-term changes. We all want to live and work in a society that is fair and equal; a world where people feel confident to express themselves, knowing that they will be listened to; where they can feel safe, secure and appreciated. The Sylvia Young Theatre School is committed to delivering this message in education and the arts.
I am fortunate in that I have a great staff, fully committed to supporting each other and the students in their charge. We are a family, and as a family the opinions of each member are sought and respected.
We can also acknowledge, as in any family, that it is possible to make mistakes, and to learn from them.
- Meeting with staff, students and former students this week, we have decided on the following steps to take us forward:
- To make sure that every BAME student knows that there is someone they can speak to about any problem however large or small, knowing that it is safe for them to do so and that they will be listened to with understanding and care and that necessary changes will be implemented.
- To arrange cultural diversity training for all staff by a member of the BAME community – it is vital to engage in this both to understand what is acceptable in an interaction between a member of staff and a BAME student and what could inadvertently cause upset, and to provide a forum where staff can ask sensitive questions in a safe environment. This training will be ongoing.
- To arrange workshops with professionals from the BAME community.
- To review our curriculum to include more BAME subject matter.
- To expand the study of black history in our humanities programme.
- To continue to build on our excellent assemblies and class discussions which over this last year have explored such topics as bullying, black history month.
- To continue to foster an interest in multi-cultural arts.
- To ensure that we are equally inclusive of all groups or individuals who may feel marginalised or isolated for any reason.
Most of all I want to say that if anyone has ever felt misunderstood or unfairly judged we are sorry.
On behalf of myself and my staff,
Sylvia Young OBE