Ollie Gardner

Head of EDI and Economics Teacher at Dulwich College

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This year has seen us launch our first DC PRIDE month here at Dulwich, coinciding with the national marking of LGBT History Month. We made the decision to focus on LGBTQ+ issues this February given the inevitably hectic school calendar during June’s national Pride celebrations as a result of public exams and our pupils taking part in a whole host of supra-curricular activities.

We have three main aims for DC PRIDE:

  1. To increase awareness of LGBTQ+ issues (both contemporary and historical)
  2. To celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community
  3. To foster strong allyship across our pupil and staff bodies

Launch assemblies

At the start the month, we held launch assemblies for DC PRIDE in which all of our Senior School pupils watched a film created by our EDI Senior Prefects and members of our Pride Society. These pupils decided that the video should educate our community on the characteristics of good allyship, some key areas of LGBTQ+ history, as well as looking at the discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ people both in the past and the present day. This video was very well received and stimulated some powerful discussions in tutor groups afterwards, with pupils being asked to consider how they can develop their allyship in all that they do.

Pupil Voice

As with much of our EDI work, we are keen for our pupils to lead initiatives wherever possible to allow them to focus on issues that feel most relevant to them. This plays a crucial part of the marking of DC PRIDE through our Union of Societies, through which pupils organise their own talks, as well as inviting in external speakers, to discuss LGBTQ+ related issues. A few of these talks included a Middle School History Society talk on Homosexuality and politics in 17th Century England, an Art Soc talk on Gender and Fashion, and a Modern Languages Society talk on Pride & Politics in contemporary France, Germany & Spain. The breadth and engagement in these talks has been a fantastic way to spotlight the work of many successful LGBTQ+ people in society.

Rainbow Laces

Our Sports Department have effectively led on our Rainbow Laces campaign during DC PRIDE which has helped to challenge some of the harmful stereotypes that can create barriers to LGBTQ+ people participating in sports. These barriers simply cannot exist given the evidence on the benefits of exercise for people’s mental and physical health is so overwhelming. This campaign culminated in many of our pupils sporting their Rainbow Laces during a Saturday fixture block against Harrow School.

Junior and Kindergarten participation

In our Junior School, DC PRIDE has been marked through the themes of equality and diversity, with a focus on celebrating our individual uniqueness. In History lessons, pupils investigated some of the elements of the identities of key figures that may be missed out in mainstream texts. In DUCKS, the Kindergarten and our Infant’s School, pupils celebrated what distinguishes ‘me from you and you from me’ through the stories such as ‘The Same but Different too’ by Karl Newson and ‘Love makes a Family’ by Sophie Beer.

Staff engagement

DC PRIDE also provided the perfect opportunity to improve understanding in our staff body of the importance of pronouns to a person’s identity. We provided colleagues with a template email signature, which included a space for pronouns, and invited them to use it if they wished. This tied in well to the Trans Awareness training that took place after half-term.

We have been delighted with the engagement in our first DC PRIDE. It has prompted a great deal of meaningful conversations around the College and we very much look forward to building on our work throughout the remainder of this year and into DC PRIDE 2025.

Written by Ollie Gardner, Head of EDI and Economics Teacher at Dulwich College


28 February 2024