Wycombe Abbey celebrates Equality, Diversity and Inclusion with Special Talks and Cultures Fair

One of the best features of our School is the diverse community that we live and learn in. Since I became the Lead teacher for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), I have worked to make sure this was celebrated and to create an environment where pupils and staff feel that they belong, thrive and grow.

The Pupil EDI Committee, which meets to discuss new initiatives, share ideas and promote the expansion of diversity, decided that an EDI Awareness Week would be important to highlight important messages. The committee reached out to their peers to find speakers for a range of special talks, host a stall at the Cultures Fair and also take part in Courageous Conversations.

Hattie, Head of School, said that “It was an absolute pleasure to attend the EDI talks”. She continued “This was a pupil-led event which consisted of seven talks conducted by pupils from UV-UVI with Dara, our Diversity and Inclusion Officer, hosting the event. The talks covered a range of fascinating topics with FemSoc starting the evening in celebration of International Women’s Day by examining how history has shaped women’s healthcare today. Other talks included ‘The Diverse Perspective of the Hamilton Musical’ by Dara and Amelie (UVI) and ‘Racial Diversity within Hollywood and the Film Industry’ by Kimberley (UVI). Each talk was incredibly insightful and engaging; it was clear that a lot of hard work went in behind each one. I hope that this is an event that will continue for years to come.”

Arolape (EDI Committee, LVI) and Poppy (LVI) reflected on the Cultures Fair by saying. “The Cultures Fair showcased the wonderfully diverse and culturally rich nature of our school. Big School was transformed into a vibrant space filled with lively music, a wide variety of different aromas and an array of cultural stalls. Pupils from all around the world, across all age groups, took pride in being allowed to showcase their culture. We would very much like to thank Dr Tsaknaki and Dara for organising this event and making it possible for us to celebrate diversity in Wycombe.”

To finish the week a Courageous Conversations meeting was held in Fisher Library to discuss inclusion in School and issues around stereotyping and identity. Zahirah (EDI Committee, LVI) said, “The conversation enabled everyone to gain perspective on how things we might normalise could affect people, as well as provide helpful suggestions on how we could tackle this within our school community. The concept of open discussions in general is important in helping us widen our understanding of different topics. However, particularly with EDI, courageous conversations can help reduce the stigma of particular topics and open our minds to different cultures, identities and beliefs which we may not be so familiar with before. It was very encouraging to see the level of enthusiasm and passion within the discussion and it is certainly something which would be amazing to continue in the future!”

The pupil committee consists of 13 pupils, ten Lower Sixth girls, the Head Girl Team and Chaired by an Upper Sixth pupil. The committee are all passionate about ensuring that everyone from all cultures and nationalities feel Wycombe Abbey is a space in which they can celebrate their backgrounds in a school full of such diversity. It is vital that pupils feel their voices are being listened to, so any suggestions that are given to the House representative will be shared and discussed in the meetings creating a wider pupil voice for equality, diversity and inclusion.

Dr Christina Tsaknaki
Lead Teacher in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Assistant Housemistress (Airlie), Teacher of Classics