Our Commitment to inclusion
At The Harpur Trust we understand that we have a powerful impact on our communities in Bedford, and we have a responsibility to work so that in the words of our vision for Bedford, “everyone… is inspired and supported in realising their potential”.
But it is a fact that people are disadvantaged and excluded all the time, because of their colour, ethnicity, religion, gender or disability, and for other aspects of their identity or circumstances. For some people and some communities, clearly, our vision for Bedford is a long way from their reality.
We have long sought ways to make ourselves more accessible and inclusive for pupils, staff and the communities we exist to support, but we need to do more. We will do more to listen so we can understand what else we should do, within our schools, in our grants programme and through our new £1.5 million Covid community fund.
Until Covid-19 hit, we had been planning a major consultation into the needs and views of all our communities across Bedford to underpin our new long-term strategy. As soon as we can do it safely, we will actively reach out to a wide range of people and organisations to make sure that our long-term strategy is as inclusive as we aspire to be.
We will seek to learn from our staff, our pupils and from organisations and people that we support and collaborate with including crucially from the minority ethnic communities in Bedford. It will take a combination of voices to help us uncover and deal with the issues we face and to better understand how we can realise our vision.
In the meantime, all of our schools have created groups looking at this issue to identify priorities for action, including those initiatives that were already in place.
As we continue to learn, we will as a Board of Trustees hold ourselves to account so that across the whole Trust, we do what we need to do so we can identify and tackle any biased, inequitable or preferential treatment, whether direct or systemic, in the way we fulfil our responsibilities.
We will share our plan as it develops.
Murray Stewart, Chair of Trustees