Joint statement on diversity at Woldingham School

Joint statement on diversity at Woldingham School

Joint statement from Woldingham Headmistress Mrs Alex Hutchinson, Ore Ogunbiyi, former Deputy Head Girl and co-author of ‘Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change’, and the current Head Girl Team.

8 June 2020

Representing Woldingham School and both current and former students as one collective voice, we want to state our support for the Black Lives Matter movement both in the UK and overseas.

In writing this statement, we have taken some time to consider our ongoing actions to ensure a meaningful reflection on the current situation arising from the death of George Floyd and the subsequent outpouring of passionate support for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Mrs Alex Hutchinson, Headmistress at Woldingham School said:

‘Our aim at Woldingham is to always be an inclusive, kind and welcoming community. We are clear that racism and discrimination in any form is unacceptable and, at this emotionally charged time, the welfare of our black student community is very much in our minds. At Woldingham we take our Sacred Heart ethos very seriously, especially our focus on personal growth and social awareness, and this is a timely reminder to encourage our community to listen to and respect each other and value the diversity of all members of our community. Woldingham is committed to ongoing dialogue with current and former students to ensure our continued education and awareness of the racism, ignorance and intolerance that exists in society.’

Woldingham alumna and Deputy Head Girl Ore Ogunbiyi in 2014-15 commented:

‘There is so much more that schools can, and should, be doing to ensure that black students feel safe, supported and empowered and I’m glad that Woldingham recognises this. I hope that this is the beginning of some truly transformational dialogue between staff, and students past and present, because it is not enough to just pay lip service to diversity - we have to have the uncomfortable conversations and make real change.’

The current Head Girl team, Charlotte, Misan, Milan and Sofia said:

 ‘Reflecting on the events of the past week, as a team we are deeply saddened by the tragic death of George Floyd. We strongly value our cultural diversity and see it as an inherent part of our identity as a school. For this reason, we feel it our duty to not only fully acknowledge the Black Lives Matter movement but to promote education and open discussions about the injustice and reality of the ongoing issue of racism. Strengthening the message of inclusion will remain at the heart of our work this year to ensure our community elevates its welcoming and compassionate values. Our prayers are with the friends and families of all those who have lost their lives as a result of the flawed justice system and its prejudice against black lives. And to everyone in our community who has been affected by recent events, we stand with you and are praying for your peace and strength.’

Woldingham’s commitment to diversity is of great importance. Any alumnae who would like to get in touch can contact Mrs Hutchinson on headmistress@woldinghamschool.co.uk, who would be delighted to hear from them.

Current students are encouraged to reach out to the Head Girl team, their Head of Year or Mr Abbott if they have any suggestions they would like to make.