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Focus on Social Justice

NEWS 19 Mar 2021

One of the explicit principles that underpins a Haileybury Rendall School education is that of social justice; a concept that emphasises value being placed on human wellbeing. High levels of wellbeing naturally arise when there is equality in opportunities, rights and outcomes. Our social justice activities focus on the things that matter: generosity, reconciliation, forgiveness, expressions of gratitude, inclusion, sharing of resources and service. Today, young people are being exposed to ideas, opinions, news, fake news and hash-tagged campaigns for which they need to be literate and know how to critically navigate, on a mind-boggling scale. Social justice in education done right shouldn’t force young people to believe in something specific but rather to think for themselves, form opinions and if so compelled, to speak up or out – to become upstanders not bystanders.

Social justice in education takes two forms. The first is social justice in action and the level of equality within the actual education system. The second form of social justice in education is how social justice is taught within schools. In a social justice framework, curriculum and activities are specifically chosen to broaden students’ world views. Instead of ignoring very real-world issues such as sexism, racism, poverty, and more, a social justice education addresses them and encourages students to exercise analytical thinking. Our goals for social justice education include more empathy, more justice, and more equality – just another way we keep our eye firmly on our philosophy that ‘every student matters every day’.

March is a busy month for our social justice action. We are proud once again to participate in the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave, a service activity designed to send a powerful message of solidarity to those 47 vulnerable Australians diagnosed with blood cancer each day. In addition, the school will observe the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on 19 March. With its theme, Take Action Together, we aim to elevate student voice and empower young people to join this important conversation. Being able to recognise Harmony Week, Everyone Belongs, from 15 to 21 March, with a variety of cultural activities will assist us continue to build an inclusive culture across the school that celebrates diversity.

Haileybury Rendall School is strongly committed to principles of fairness, equity and human rights. We believe we have a shared responsibility to contribute to positive social change both locally and globally. At the heart of Haileybury’s mission is an obligation to develop high-achieving students who are connected globally to each other and the communities in which they will serve. Learning about and engaging in social justice initiatives empowers our young people to be 21st century global citizens who feel equipped to transform their world.