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Headmaster's Updates

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Tuesday 19 October 2021

Further to recent media coverage on one element of our new bespoke Stuart Additional Curriculum, we would like to clarify the overarching purpose of the initiative. 

It is designed to ensure that St Dunstan’s is remaining true to its founding purpose that it should be forward thinking in the skills and thinking it seeks to develop in the young people educated at the school. It looks at a whole range of age-appropriate issues that matter in contemporary society and amongst young people. For older students this includes consent in relationships, forms of addiction for young people (online and peer-to-peer video gaming, social media, gambling as part of watching competitive sports, as well as alcohol and drug addictions), and the misrepresentation of sexual behaviours within readily accessible pornography. We also teach young people how to cultivate healthy relationships with themselves as individuals and with others, including how to disagree with respect, spot ‘fake news’ and how to effectively tackle inherent prejudices and inequalities in society. This includes the unpacking of white privilege as a concept, amongst many other forms of privilege that continue to pervade contemporary society. Our Stuart Additional Curriculum is designed to prepare young people to thrive in the realities of the world.

It is without doubt the case that some of these issues are emotive and challenging, and our Stuart teachers are trained in how to teach content with professional objectivity. It remains our view that it is more important than ever for schools to create spaces and time in their curriculum to allow dialogue over these issues. The alternative is, in our view, to turn a blind-eye to the ever increasingly polarisation in society, where a generational divide becomes ever more pronounced. As educators we cannot allow young people to enter the world with an inability to listen to one another and to talk openly, objectively and intelligently. Critical Thinking and Rhetoric are taught in Stuart lessons as a fundamental skill for young people; to argue passionately, of course, but to root this in an ability to listen to dissenting views rather than ignore them entirely as anathema. 

It is in this spirit that we have introduced our Stuart Additional Curriculum alongside our recently announced St Dunstan’s Diapason, our pupil-staff partnership which supports the College’s equality and diversity policy and works to build an ongoing strategy that celebrates and promotes the benefits of diversity and builds a culture of equality for all.

Being brave in educational decision making inevitably leads to an element of assumption, distortion and criticism, but we hope this context helps our community better understand the rationale behind the recent changes that have been made.

Friday 8 October 2021

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Thursday 12 August 2021 

Friday 9 July 2021