Ottery students win national award for championing diversity
PUBLISHED: 12:45 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:45 15 February 2018
Pupils from The King's School have won a national award in recognition of their work to champion diversity within the school.
Students in the Respect Group received the Student Leadership Award at the School Star Awards for their focus to increase awareness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Hattie Moore, Summer Wise, Beth Johnson, Leo Hall-Howl and Lottie Bussell-Ahern, all in year 13, launched the group last year and have been working to provide a safe space for discussing diversity.
The students have also led sessions with staff about the language used to talk about members of the LGBT community and to expand PSHE lessons to include discussions about same-sex relationships.
Leo, 17, said: “We wanted a place where the students could come and talk about things and anything need. We leave at the end of the year and we hope we can get it started so people will be brave to carry it on.”
Hattie, 18, added: “We wanted people to feel safe in school - when we were coming up through the school we did not feel that. We want to fill that gap.
“It is about making people aware of other people and making them know there are people out there like that. Anything you can be saying could be heard by someone of that group [LGBT] and it’s not very nice.”
The students’ hopes are to encourage other schools to set up respect groups.
The group has also worked with charities such as Just Like Us and spoken to their youth parliament representative about promoting diversity in other schools.
Beth, 17, said: “It’s incredible; it’s really lovely to win the award as we come from a small town. It’s nice to be recognised nationally and the hope is to get other schools to do it. It shows we are doing something right.”
The trophy was presented by Lord Guy Black at the Daily Telegraph’s HQ and the students had the opportunity to meet celebrities, politicians and business leaders.
Jo Elliott, head of PSHE at The King’s School, said: “It’s an absolutely incredible achievement.
It was a subject that they saw in the school that needed addressing, they felt we were not talking about diversity as much as we should do and could they start a group.”