Principal’s Blog – 24th February 2017

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Speak Up!

Minsthorpe prides itself on being an inclusive college and we want our young people to be educated in an environment in which respect and acceptance are the norm. It is a sad fact that any form of difference – gender, disability, SEN or sexual orientation – can lead to prejudice and discrimination and the college is determined to challenge stereotypes and to make our students appreciate that difference is not something that needs to be feared or abused. I am proud to announce that our efforts have come to the attention of Barnado’s who have chosen Minsthorpe as one of 200 schools to help them develop their Anti-HBT Bullying Programme. This is a three year programme that aims to help schools combat homophobic, biophobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying. Funded by the Government Equalities Office, Barnado’s will work with schools to develop robust anti-HBT bullying policies that can then be rolled out across the country.

Bullying behaviour often comes from a lack of understanding, ignorance and fear. Incorporating lessons around gender and sexuality into our curriculum and making it part of our college culture will help to increase understanding and awareness. It can generate safe spaces for open discussions where students can explore and challenge each other’s attitudes safely. We hope to be able to trial the use of the tootoot app that has been developed as part of a massive government investment into a range of innovative schemes that are designed to tackle bullying in schools. This online app lets children report cyber bullying using screenshots of social media and will give them access to round-the-clock support including in school holidays, with advice on tackling bullying and tips on how to block and report abuse on a range of online platforms.

Steve Oversby, Director of Barnardo’s East Region said:

"Barnardo’s aim is to make sure LGBTQ young people have a safe environment where diversity is celebrated and difference is accepted. We welcome this great opportunity to make a real difference to young people’s lives, when HBT bullying can have a terrible impact. We are confident that we can recruit 200 schools and that we can deliver the tools to combat HBT bullying to any other schools that need it. Schools that are not recruited through the programme can buy in services through Barnardo’s to support them to create inclusive school environments."

Equipped To Learn

This past week has been the worst that we have experienced in terms of students coming to college without even the basics with which to learn. Many students had to be sent to year offices to borrow pens, pencils and rulers. Every teacher wants the best for their students – but it’s not always an easy task, especially when they’re coming to class without the right equipment. We all know that turning up to school with correct supplies makes teaching and learning a lot easier. It means less time searching through cupboards for a spare ruler or in drawers for a pen, more time getting stuff done.

Can you please check that your son or daughter has at least some basic equipment packed in their college bag, please? The college also sells stationery at cost price. Let’s spend the time effectively, helping our students to learn instead of scrabbling around for stationery!

Ray Henshaw
Principal