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It was a truly diverse, inclusive and educational day but also lots and lots of FUN!


Friday 17th June 2022

On Friday 17th June we had the pleasure of bringing back Diversity Day for Year 9 students at Ilkley Grammar School for the first time since the start of the pandemic in 2019-20.

The aim of Diversity Day is to continue to develop IGS as an outward-facing school which is proud of its vibrant community and to offer experiences that are varied, stimulating, thought-provoking and challenging. The aim of the day is also to promote equality and to celebrate creativity as well as foster a strong sense of pride, tolerance and inclusion for all.

It was a wonderful day with a carousel of engaging interactive workshops. One session welcomed representatives from all six world religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Sikhism and the students learned about religious culture in small groups through a combination of stories and religious relics. In terms of educational experiences there was also a workshop on neurodiversity. In this workshop students were invited to engage with a set of immersive and knowledge building activities around the theme of neurodiversity exploring autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Students in this workshop also listened to a first-hand account from a Post-16 IGS student with autism who talked about how the school supports and promotes positivity around those who live with the condition. In the Gender Equality workshop students also learnt about gender rights and how we can all be a part of a fairer world in terms of equal opportunities for all.

The LGBTQ+ workshop was led by a team of iLeaders who identify as LGBGQ+ and they delivered a presentation which offered an interactive look into the History of LGBTQ+ rights and Pride as well as helping them to understand key facts relating to the Pride flag and its origins. This also helps further our work as a school on tackling all types of LGBTQ bullying and our support of the LGBTQ+ community both within and outside of school. Others got to learn about how to be an upstander in tackling all forms of bullying in our ‘RESPECT: anti-bullying’ workshop which was also designed and led by Post-16 iLeaders. Students learnt facts about people who fight for a more just society and considered how to challenge bullies as well as support the victims of bullying. Students also took part in a fantastic sign language workshop, and by the end it was amazing to see how many of them could meet and greet each other and spell their names to communicate with someone from the deaf community.

There were lots of creative and active workshops and African Drumming was a huge hit throughout the day with an exciting cacophony of sounds from African drums echoing around the school.

Students not only played these but also gained an understanding of the significance of drums in African Celebrations and Tribal Rituals. Others were in high energy mode as they sampled some World Dance lessons, from flamenco and Latin American beats through to music with roots in Indian, Arabic and African culture. Students were able to clap and dance their hearts out as they created dances involving sweeping arm movements and rhythmic feet stomping.

An art workshop helped students express themselves via monographs of their faces using their profile pictures and these were then combined to make a huge Union flag made up of the faces of the students who took part to celebrate their uniqueness and diversity.

Students also gained a taste of Japanese culture by exploring the art of origami and, over the course of the day, they created a cloud of suspended origami cranes in the Technology department.

However, everyone’s heart melted at the sight of the Guide Dogs, who came in with their owners to show us how these beautiful, gentle creatures move from puppyhood into adulthood, all the while being trained to guide and help partially sighted and blind people to live active lives. Then finally, to quieten us all down amidst all the other activities of the day, there was a ‘Mindfulness and Wellbeing’ session to help us find our inner calm. It was a truly diverse, inclusive and educational day but also lots and lots of FUN! Here’s to next year!

A huge thank you to all the many IGS staff who ran sessions and to the Post-16 iLeaders, as well as to our visitors without whom the day would not have been possible.

We hope that students will have learned more about the rich and diverse world we live in and also, in the process, learned more about themselves.

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