16 Jun HT Blog 35 – Community
Next week, on Tuesday June 18, we will be welcoming a familiar face to many people in our local area, Councillor Carl Meader, for so many years a loyal servant of Kempston, to Daubeney Academy in order to deliver an assembly to our Year 8 students and to lead a workshop with a selected cohort of KS3 students about the importance of community and what the term means to them. Councillor Meader, as you may be aware, has been and continues to be a long-serving member of Daubeney Academy’s governing body, so he is already very familiar with our school, but this visit is more in his political capacity than that of a more typical visit to us by one of our governors. In Daubeney, perhaps because we are such a small school with a very distinctive feel, there is clearly a strong sense of community; in many ways, we operate as a family and look out for and after each other during both the good moments of a school year and the inevitable trickier times that come along. Our established motto of Work Hard & Be Kind To Each Other, of course, is essentially built around the idea that each individual will take the needs and wishes of others into account before acting, and although this isn’t always perfectly followed through by all members of our school community (but we are dealing with a large cohort of young people who are all growing up together, after all) it is certainly something that we aim to aspire to at all times. For all members of an effective, functioning community – young or old – it is vital that the impact of words and actions is considered before anything is said or done, and the pastoral care that our teachers (and not only those in specialist pastoral roles within the school) put into constantly teaching this important lesson is wonderful for myself and Daubeney’s other leaders to see each day. A community works best when the needs of the many are frequently put ahead of the needs of the individual, with decisions taken in an understanding that just because one person wants to do something in a particular way this doesn’t necessarily have to be how it’s done. Without this mindset, communities just don’t work as what we have instead is a collection of individuals who are all out simply to try to get what they want and to further their own ambitions. At Daubeney, our size as a small secondary school allows us to be able to not only personalise the education that we provide to our students but also have conversations around the idea outlined above much more easily than is possible in a bigger setting, and for this reason I am looking forward to the discussions that come out of next week’s sessions between Councillor Meader and our students.
A strength of our community at Daubeney is its diversity. In comparison to our wider UK society, it could be argued that our community is even richer and more diverse than the country as a whole, which at the last census in 2011 had 80.5% of our population as White British, 7.5% identifying as Asian British and only 3.3% as Black British, as our statistics show that 52% of our students are White British, 17% are Asian British and 9% are Black British. However, these figures only give you a very limited picture of the make-up of our student body, as the remaining 22% consists of almost 20 further ethnicities. Also, although 71% of our students speak English at home as a first language, almost a third (32%) speak more than one language at home and we have over 20 languages spoken by our students and their families, including Arabic, Bengali, Croatian, Malayam, Ndebele, Panjabi, Portuguese, Romanian, Russia, Serbian, Tamil and Urdu, to name but some. The multiculturalism of our school is a strength as the range of different experiences, perspectives and backgrounds amongst our students and their families brings with it new ideas and attitudes which in turn means that there is no place for stagnation, complacency or a lack of aspiration in our community. Being different from someone else in Daubeney, whether in terms of race, religion, sexuality or any other factor, does not lead to alienation from the wider community. Indeed, we have always been a school which welcomes and promotes the diversity of our community and this will continue whilst Kempston remains the diverse community that we are proud to serve.