Richard Davies – Teacher
Why did your school decide to launch action against sexism and sexual harassment?
Our student body requested that the school did more in response to issues in the national press such as the Sarah Everard murder and Everyone’s Invited. We felt it was an incredibly important issue and we surveyed our own students about their experiences using the UK Feminista template. Our results, alongside those presented in the ‘It’s Just Everywhere’ report, galvanised the school to take action against sexism and sexual harassment.
What action has the school taken so far and what are your plans for the future?
The school launched a trial scheme in the Sixth Form that included using UK Feminista’s survey and a workshop approach using the teacher resources available from their website. We have undertaken an audit and are currently in the process of changing our policies and procedures to address some of the issues raised out of our surveys. We have delivered assemblies to three year groups and have trained a large number of staff through UK Feminista’s training options in order to raise awareness of the issues.
What impact has your action to tackle sexism and sexual harassment had so far?
Our focus groups indicate that our work so far has had a very positive impact. Our aim was to empower our students to speak out and take action against sexism in and outside of school. They have responded by running a vigil for victims of sexual violence and creating an art installation in the Sixth Form area to raise awareness. Around half of our Sixth Form have taken part in voluntary workshops and have fed back their ideas that will now be rolled out across the school. Our Equality and Diversity Lead has also set up a Conference for teachers about the issues of Gender in schools.
How have UK Feminista’s resources and training supported your school to take action?
The UK Feminista resources have been fundamental in our approach and have provided a focus in which to bring together all of the positive work being undertaken by the school. The exceptional resources have been used across our whole community with support staff, Infant and Junior teacher, Governors, senior school teaching and pastoral staff all involved in addressing sexism and sexual harassment in our society.
What advice would you give to other schools about combatting sexism and sexual harassment?
Our experience has shown that if a school commits to tacking sexism and sexual harassment, they can make a real difference in empowering students to recognise the key issues and challenging unacceptable attitudes. Taking a coordinated approach with all members of the community involved using a framework such as that provided by UK Feminista is a powerful way in changing our communities for the better.