Equality and Respect
Introduction from The Master
Two of the primary duties of Dulwich College are:
- to ensure that all our pupils feel equally secure and valued; and
- to nurture a supportive community that encourages a sense of social responsibility.
In March 2021 allegations published on the website Everyone’s Invited, an Open Letter from a recent alumnus and the publication of a blog by a recent leaver describing his experience of racism while at the College. The behaviour described is distressing and entirely unacceptable; we condemn it unreservedly. This has led us to enhance our current provision and to develop a bespoke and robust response to effect change. We recognise that the impact of cultural change will take time to become deeply embedded, not least where the issues we are facing are widespread and societal; and that most importantly, this will happen only if we work together and take shared responsibility for the actions of our children.
Our priorities now are:
- to engage sympathetically on behalf of those who have suffered abuse or harassment, investigating all allegations, internally or by referring cases to the relevant authorities;
- to support all our pupils and staff, ensuring they know we will continue to listen to their concerns and work in their interests; and
- to commit to an Equality and Respect plan of action, building on the outline endorsed by the Governors on 25 March and announced to parents and former pupils on 26 March 2021.
The great majority of Dulwich College pupils are considerate and respectful towards others; they are acknowledged to be grounded, reflective, and curious and engaged with the world. Our confidence in them is undimmed and we will do our utmost to uphold their reputation whilst addressing the actions of those whose behaviour we condemn.
Our ethos is one of respect and support for others in all we do and we are, as a school, committed to gender equality and to the elimination of discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, age, disability or religious belief. As a boys’ school the first thing we must do is listen to what women and girls are telling us about their experiences and their concerns.
I am determined and optimistic that good will come as a direct result of listening to those who have spoken out and it is our collective responsibility not to let them down. Where changes need to be made, we will make them.
Dr Joe Spence
31 March 2021
UPDATES – 10 June 2021
The following actions (in italics below) are updates to the College’s Equality and Respect plan of action:
- Working with victims and reporting alleged perpetrators to the authorities
On-going, and while only a small number of victims have identified themselves and their assailants or harassers we continue to learn from the testimonies of those who have chosen not to ask for further action to be taken;
- Dealing with historic allegations of abuse
On-going internally, with a small number of cases now in the hands of the authorities;
- Continuing to review our Wellbeing education
Benchmarking and sharing best practice and resources with other schools is underway;
- Tackling the pervasive misuse of social media
Working with various trusted agencies, including Digital Awareness UK, It Happens Education and Life Lessons. A series of three Y7-Y13 Parent Forums on Digital Awareness (covering pornography, sexting, healthy relationships, and consent) and one Junior School Parent Forum were delivered in webinars during the Lent term..
- Independent Review of Behaviour, Culture and Safeguarding
The Terms of Reference of the Independent Review commissioned by the Governors have been shared with parents, alumni and staff. The Review is being conducted by the INEQE Safeguarding Group and led by Jim Gamble, a former Chief Police Officer and the founding Chief Executive of CEOPS (the Child Exploitation and On-line Protection Centre). The report will be delivered in September 2021.
- Ofsted Review
This wider state and independent schools' and colleges review (published on 10 June 2021) can be found here:https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofsted.
The Diversity and Inclusion Alliance
Beyond our specific commitment to anti-racism, we are committed to building a school of equality where every pupil feels they have a place where their skills, talents and contributions are recognised.
We have appointed a Director of Diversity and Inclusion who leads a pupil and staff Alliance that meets regularly to monitor and facilitate progress.
We have made an unequivocal commitment to be an anti-racist school where no one feels undermined or vulnerable on account of racial difference or any other perceived difference. To achieve this, we are undertaking five significant actions to ensure we stay on a secure path to equality.
Other actions since 2016
Since 2016 we have implemented many changes in regard to safeguarding at the College.
- In addition to the appointment of new pastoral leads and extensive staff training, we have revised the Wellbeing curriculum and introduced or revised policies, as indicated below.
- Pupils are now taught about digital awareness and consent and are encouraged to reflect on issues of equality at a younger age.
- The Pastoral and Wellbeing teams meet regularly to review topics to be covered each term, and the curriculum allows flexibility for teaching to be reactive if we become aware of issues impacting our pupils at a local or national level.
- Since 2018 form tutors have delivered Wellbeing lessons and undergone training in tackling conversations around issues such as online safety, everyday sexism and LGBTQ+. Our work is enhanced through our engagement with bodies like Digital Awareness UK, The Good Lad Initiative (now Beyond Equality) and the Breck Foundation.
- Significant changes and additions have been made to College policies since 2016 including our Safeguarding policies. A standalone Low-Level Concerns Policy has been introduced, together with a new Online Safety policy and a Wellbeing policy that considers Relationships and Sex Education and Social Moral Spiritual and Cultural Education and Fundamental British Values. Significant changes have been made to the ICT Acceptable Use Policy, Safeguarding, Anti-Bullying, Equal Opportunities and Supervision of Children policies.
- We have trained designated safeguarding leads in each of our five schools ensuring all pupils have a recognised and familiar person they can approach if they are concerned for themselves or others.
For all of these interventions, we recognise the importance of reviewing and having inspected by independent authorities all that we do in relation to safeguarding, pastoral care and Wellbeing education in order to help bring about lasting change. This work has started.
Please see our Policies section, and in particular (but not only):
How to contact us
If you are a pupil, alumnus, parent, former parent, member of staff or former member of staff and would like to talk to us about a safeguarding issue, current or historic, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NSPCC helpline 0808 800 5000 is open Monday to Friday 8am – 10pm or 9am – 6pm at the weekends or online or by email 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Updated: 10 June 2021