September 28, 2023
Lionheart continues to demonstrate unwavering commitment to inclusivityThis week is National Inclusion Week, an initiative which emphasises the importance of inclusivity amongst employers.
The Lionheart Educational Trust serves schools in Leicester and Leicestershire, one of the most diverse areas in the country; in fact, last year The Guardian noted that 59% of Leicester residents come from minority ethic backgrounds.
Lionheart’s employees are reflective of Leicester and Leicestershire’s ethnic make-up, and we are proud of our rich cultural mix, working together to ensure that diversity is celebrated.
We highlight the importance of inclusivity, diversity in every respect and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. Over the last few years, we have introduced a multitude of inspired initiatives to ensure we do just that, which include:
- Staff at all of our 14 schools attended Trust-wide training days on diversity, where the importance of inclusivity was stressed and our unwavering commitment to ensuring that any young person from any background receives an equal education was highlighted.
- Staff wear LGBTQ+ pin badges to support the community and promote a feeling of solidarity, whilst, last year, we hosted the first ever Lionheart Pride. An end-of-year festival held at The Cedars Academy, it provided our LGBTQ+ staff and students an opportunity to socialise together and forge purposeful links. This event has become a yearly occurrence.
- To promote diversity, we introduced a poster campaign and schools created displays centring on public role models from ethnic minority backgrounds, such as footballer Marcus Rashford and educational activist Malala Yousafzai.
- We have also created a Trust-wide diversity calendar - which highlights important religious holidays and festivals throughout the year, sharing video messages to acknowledge colleagues’ cultural celebrations, while educating each other on the meaning behind religious festivals. We celebrate a key religious festival from staff faiths each year by supplying food typical to that faith or celebration, to share at break with colleagues.
- A variety of focus groups are open for staff to join, from any job role across all of our schools. These groups focus on disability, BAME, LGBTQ+ and the Working Class, with two-way communication with Leadership, feeding ideas and also acting as a listening ear to improve diversity across the Trust.
- Inside the classroom, our young people benefit from studying a Global Issues curriculum, which focuses on worldwide current affairs. This allows our students to become more aware of happenings in the world, thus making them more rounded and diversely-aware citizens. Evidence of this was seen when over 10,000 students from across our schools wrote message of support for refugees with many published on billboards and shared with the wider community.
Earlier this year, we were humbled when recognised nationally for our work, receiving a MAT Excellence Award for Inclusivity.
The judges of the award said: “Staff and student voice are central to the Trust’s approach. The judges appreciated the impact of action being taken in a range of areas, such as recruitment, career development and the curriculum, and the focus across faith, ethnicity, class and LGBTQ+.”
We look forward to continuing our work this academic year and beyond!