Equality Group wins the Diana Award 2019!
We are delighted to announce that Woodside’s Equality and Diversity Group have successfully won the Diana Award. Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Diana Award is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work.
This is the longest running award for young people that is given to individuals and groups through a retrospective nomination process only. This makes the award all the more special because young people do not work towards the award, rather they demonstrate their suitability through their actions, without any expectation of reward.
Woodside’s Equality and Diversity Group campaigns for equality within our school, our community and beyond. Students work relentlessly to educate others, dispel myths and address any forms of prejudice, from racism, islamophobia, antisemitism, homophobia, sexism, ablism, body shaming, mental health discrimination and much more. Very much a student-led group, they decide what work they do and how they achieve their aims. Students have a regular weekly meeting but frequently do additional work in their break and lunchtimes. They are selfless in their approach and have exceptionally high standards. They have made a hugely positive impact across the school and community.
The Equality and Diversity Group are deeply committed to helping others. In their work to challenge all forms of prejudice, they sacrifice their own time to come up with creative and innovative approaches to a whole range of challenging issues. From dispelling myths around mental health to peer-teaching lessons on period poverty, the Equality Group students work tirelessly to help create a better society for all. Their passion and dedication is often borne out of experiencing significant personal challenges themselves, they demonstrate extraordinary compassion for others in channelling those difficult experiences into positive and enriching experiences for others.
The social impact of the work of the Equality and Diversity is nearly impossible to measure. It goes far beyond raising hundreds of pounds for a range of charities including Children In Need, the Terrence Higgins Trust, Mind, Bloody Good Period and many more. The campaigning work they have done around gender equality impacted not just our own school but a number of local schools. Their lessons on period poverty were delivered across the entire school – taught entirely by the students, not by adults.
The students within the Equality and Diversity Group constantly inspire others. They inspire their peers to take a stand against inequality – to challenge those who behave in a manner that is prejudicial, even their own friends. They also inspire their whole community to be braver, to find their own voice and to be proud of who they are. Recently, for Disability History Month, the Equality Group created a film where they spoke openly about their own disabilities. This inspired staff to come forward to share their own disabilities also to help dispel myths and perceptions around a range of visible and invisible challenges. Their film was shown in assembly to the entire school and helped to educate others considerably.
The entirety of the work of the Equality and Diversity Group is student led. They decide what their campaigns are and how they will be delivered. This means that their work is often extremely creative and innovative. They are also adept at harnessing the range of talents and abilities within the group. Students who are particularly artistic, for example, submit their designs for things like badges and posters to the group and are created into real products. Students liaise with staff across the school in order to deliver on their aims – which are often cross-curricular. Students have a shared Google Drive platform where they share out their work and submit it when completed, and this enables them to communicate and collaborate on projects in the evenings and weekends. All of their work is as a result of ideas initiated on their own accord, which is exactly how the school would want it. Students become highly-skilled project managers as a result, because they work as a team to plan through all of the steps and work out who they need to liaise with in order to make their projects a reality. They are extremely supportive of one another and a more confident member might offer to support a less confident member, for example, when speaking to staff members to support them in their endeavours.
Students go through an extremely impressive journey throughout their time as Equality Group members. Few who join start as confident or skilled public speakers, but over time become extraordinarily powerful communicators. Students have overcome debilitating shyness and significant lack of confidence to become leaders within the school. Skills such as team work, project management, leadership, presentation, debating, listening and collaborating become highly developed over time, and are passed on through peer teaching, mutual support and kindness. They are hugely compassionate and giving to others and support students across the entire school – even coming in during the school holidays to support in welcoming Year 6 students and their families when they start secondary school, for example.
We are exceptionally proud of all our students’ extraordinary work and congratulate them on their very well-deserved award!