Accord launches 2015 Inclusivity Award

October 3, 2014

It is much more common to hear of problems at schools, rather than successes. The annual Accord Inclusivity Award however runs counter to these prevailing narratives.

Now in its sixth year, the Award aims to draw attention to those schools doing things worth shouting about, but for entirely good reasons. It rewards schools that work hardest within their particular circumstance to promote the growth of mutual understanding and to advance an ethos of inclusion, with particular regard for inclusivity on the grounds of religion and belief.

The Award has recently been highlighted by Ofsted (Annex 2) as a way for schools to complement their duties under the Equality Act (to advance equality of opportunity, foster good relations and tackle discrimination). Winning schools regularly obtain national media coverage for their success. Past winners have included:

  • an Ilford primary school, for its pioneering scheme where local sixth form pupils present about the role of their beliefs in their life, allowing younger pupils to have a dialogue with positive role models from different backgrounds and improving their understanding of the nature of faith and belief as a real life experience
  • a Hertfordshire faith school, for its outstanding work in tackling homophobic bullying
  • a Sunderland secondary school, for its multifaceted approach to tackling prejudice and intolerance, including around mental ill health and matters of religion or belief

Previous Award judges have included the former Secretary of State for Education, Lord Baker; General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Dr Mary Bousted; national expert on community cohesion and inter-cultural relations, Professor Ted Cantle CBE; the then Shadow Minister for Children, Lisa Nandy MP; Bishop of Buckingham, The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, and journalist Polly Toynbee. The 2015 Award will be judged by another respected and experienced panel of experts from political, professional and religious backgrounds. More details on the Award and nomination form can be found here.

Launching the 2014 Award, Accord Coalition Chair Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain said ‘Many people complain about the state of our schools, but Accord seeks to do the reverse and reward those institutions that advance innovative ideas and display best practice. Many schools are remarkably successful at improving cohesion and boosting the growth of mutual respect and understanding, and it is time they were praised.’

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