Following recent events, we have been carefully considering a response to ensure that our reaction is one that is sustained and meaningful, and reflects that we are listening to and learning from all members of our School community. Here is the full statement from the Headmistress, Mrs Emma McKendrick.
The shocking circumstances of the recent tragic death of George Floyd in the USA have rocked the world. They require a committed and determined response from us all to ensure a more equitable and just society and one where all people are respected and valued regardless of their race or ethnicity.
At the heart of Downe House’s ethos is a commitment to show respect for and kindness towards all individuals. Racism, whether overt or covert, is unacceptable and is not and never can be tolerated at Downe House. I want pupils of all races and ethnic backgrounds to thrive and flourish. These are not just values that lie at the heart of the School but ones that we expect all our alumnae to take with them into their future lives. Never have these values been more important than now and I remain committed to these and committed to a renewed focus on them.
I am very grateful to those members of our School community who have made contact with me to share their experiences at Downe with a view to ensuring that the School is the very best possible environment in which everyone can thrive. Listening to and learning from girls’ past experiences will continue to be invaluable in helping us to shape the future here and ensuring our response at Downe House is one that is sustained and meaningful in helping to create that just and fair society for every person that we all desire. I am deeply appreciative of our alumnae’s ongoing commitment to our community and thank them. Next week we will begin a programme of discussions within the School and these too will help us in the pursuit of our shared goal.
Mrs Emma McKendrick
5 June 2020