Jacqueline Austin Appointed Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
Jacqueline Austin has been appointed as Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion. Here we speak to Jacqueline to find out more about this new and important position, her goals for the future, and plans to engage the whole College community of pupils, parents and staff.
What does this new role entail?
First, I would like to say how delighted I am to take on this new role. I have always enjoyed teaching at Epsom College and am so pleased to be able to help the College, and all who learn and work here, to create a truly loving and inclusive community.
Epsom College is determined to seize every opportunity to build sustained change for all.
As Head of Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DE&I) my main purpose is to ensure that all pupils who could be at risk of discrimination or unconscious bias are appropriately mentored and supported during their time at the College.
I am committed to establishing an environment that looks after the needs and welfare of every individual. Supported by members of the DE&I committee, this role will be integral in championing various initiatives set up to provide guidance, help and encouragement to students.
Together, we will work hard to make Epsom a more inclusive community for both pupils and staff.
What are your main goals?
We aim to
- Recognise the international nature of our community and engage in discussions and cover British values, cultural diversity, languages, food, disability, socio-economic status, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, among others
- Identify the challenges faced by pupils from ethnic minority groups and agree how best these challenges can be addressed
- Design, develop and implement initiatives such as Black History Week, to provide support for pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds
- Explore opportunities to create affinity groups so that pupils from various demographics have the chance to voice common experiences and concerns
- Raise awareness of equality issues to promote understanding, positive attitudes, and behaviours in tackling conscious and unconscious bias
- Embed diversity, equality, and inclusion topics across the curriculum where appropriate – proactively create teaching, learning and feedback environments to prepare students to actively engage in a diverse society
- Provide training to staff and student leads to guide the School’s approach in responding to concerns and effectively utilise established pathways toward fostering good relationships
- Coordinate initiatives and projects across departments, houses, and year groups
- Identify external trends and recognise best practice, bringing forward ideas designed to increase inclusion for all pupils at Epsom College
- Implement and manage such initiatives by working collaboratively with both staff and pupils and community groups including parents
How will you engage pupils in your plans?
We are exploring the best systems, but we anticipate the following:
- A designated year group representative within each House who can discuss issues with the DE&I House Leader
- DE&I House Leaders, supported by the HMMs and tutors, will be Lower Sixth students who will be provided with training prior to launch
- Outside of the House system, the College will have a support structure overseen by a designated member of the Diversity Committee. This staff member will be trained in conflict resolution, if needed, and will have the ability to support new initiatives or events
- Pupils will participate in workshops and discussion groups where they will be encouraged and supported in being their authentic selves
- Our students will be given opportunities to become advocates for change within the College, such as presenting their ideas – at events and talks – as a member of an affinity group or tutor group