Where does it all go wrong?

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Are schools doing enough to promote diversity, tolerance and equality? Jason Whiskerd, Headmaster of Brentwood Preparatory School, explores what is being done to make sure the lessons learnt in school last a lifetime.

Children are not born racist. In the playground, skin colour is unimportant; difference is celebrated and discrimination is unheard of. So where does it all go wrong?

I have worked in a number of schools for nearly 30 years and, in my role as an ISI inspector, visited many more. I know of no school that does not extol the virtues of diversity, tolerance and equality.

If we are instilling the right message across a child's formative years then what is going wrong? Are we paying lip service to the issue? Are we doing enough? In terms of urgency and appropriate timescales, perhaps we should be using the enduring mantra of Hillel the Elder, 'if not now, when?'

It is more important than ever to fully educate young people. After more than a year, the world continues to reflect upon the senseless killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. This, coupled with the anxieties of COVID, has given us all a sense of perspective, and I believe it is more important than ever to fully educate young people about the need for respecting others regardless of race, colour or creed.

Jason Whiskerd is Headmaster of Brentwood Preparatory School.