To All Members of the MCS Community,
During the past week current and former pupils have written to me and the Governors stating your support for MCS as a tolerant, diverse community, and asking that we do more to ensure that racism and white privilege are better understood through how we conduct ourselves and what we teach. Thank you for your many illuminating and heartfelt remarks and suggestions, all of which we will take into account.
This letter sits alongside the statement which I made last Monday, and aims to amplify some of the comments which I made there. My podcasts to the school community today and last Monday also reflect on these matters.
The issues raised are complex and involve sustained, sensitive and sensible listening; a consensus as to what steps we should take; and agreed ways of measuring their impact. This is something in which Governors take a keen interest, and the Senior Team will be accountable to them for our progress.
In order to ensure that our exploration is sustained, transparent and structured, we shall set up an Equality Committee, chaired by a member of staff, which pupils and teachers will be able to attend. This will be a forum for a listening exercise, a generator of ideas, and a sounding board for any proposals which will take shape. We shall also continue to call on our Parent Forum as a sounding board for this ongoing conversation.
Conversations about any reform to the curriculum will take place in two ways. Since the school shadows the National Curriculum and follows public exam specifications, there will need to be a wider conversation than the one within our walls about what is taught and how. MCS will be able to participate in this, not least through our membership of ISC and HMC. In school, our Heads of Department are best-placed to work with the Senior Team in looking at those areas of the curriculum which we do control. Those of you who are familiar with our Lilium programme will know that many of the issues which have come to the fore in recent weeks are already explored in MCS and have been since 2017.
We recognise that there will be more we can do, and look forward to what emerges from this process. I am fond of saying that if we want something done well at MCS we ask the pupils to do it, and I hope that this will be no exception. Equally, we shall lead from the front, and there are some areas which are not open to the oversight of most, such as pupil and staff recruitment. I am having some creative conversations with other Heads about how we might continue to address the perennial difficulty of the pipeline of teaching post applicants so that we might best reflect and advertise the increasingly diverse makeup of our pupil body. Last academic year we commissioned research on how we might secure the optimally diverse range of pupil applicants, and one of the results of that work is the MCS Bridge programme, to be launched in September, which supports targeted applicants to MCS in the years before they apply to us. On this as on all other matters I repeat that we are not complacent.
With under three weeks left now until the end of term, and with so few of us able to meet face-to-face in the way we would like, it is I am afraid inevitable that much of the work we envisage will take place during the coming academic year and beyond.
Thank you for reading this, and for continuing to be such staunch advocates of all that MCS is and stands for.