Many independent schools in South Africa are based on the British Public (Independent) schooling model and are essentially Eurocentric. While many pupils feel comfortable in these environments, there are others who do not relate to this ethos or culture. It is, therefore, imperative for schools in South Africa to reflect deeply on their current cultures as well as on their conscious and unconscious biases, and where necessary, to bring about changes that will ensure a greater level of comfort for all.
In 2019, a strategic planning process for transformation was commissioned by the leadership of the school. It was critical that representatives from each stakeholder group of the school community participated to create the transformation strategy. The plan was finalised in 2020 and implementation of the twenty action steps began immediately. Prioritising is important to the success of the school’s extensive strategic plan.
At Roedean, we acknowledge that transformation is an ongoing journey for us; a continuous process of evolution, in which we commit to consistent and transparent evaluation of our progress through the eyes of our core stakeholders.
Roedean is a Think Equal flagship school and the programme is being taught across the Foundation Phase. This global initiative calls for a systemic change in education; the optimal time to change mindsets, attitudes and behaviour is in the early years of a child’s development. We want our pupils to become leaders who know how to navigate diversity in a conscious and aware manner.
Roedean’s Upper Junior School works with a highly regarded diversity specialist who has designed a Diversity and Social Justice Curriculum. The programme includes unconscious bias coaching for pupils and staff members, and complements the Foundation Phase Think Equal programme. Pupils participate in digital story-telling, in which they share accounts of discrimination based on race, class, gender, religion, physical disability, and points of prejudice.