Cllr Martyn Bolt, Senior Leader of Schools Liaison Sonia Ross, Associate Assistant Principal Zoe Shackleton, Schools Liaison Officer Ben Burgin and Principal Angela Williams.

by Scott Goodacre

The diversity conference is a major event in our yearly calendar which aims to bring together schools from around Kirklees to celebrate the diversity among both our own students and in the wider Kirklees area.

This year we were thankful to be joined by students from Royds Hall High School, Moor End Academy and North Huddersfield Trust School, who contributed presentations on this year’s theme of ‘Challenging Stereotypes’.

Students who couldn’t attend the conference were asked to produce poetry on the conference’s theme, and a special 28 page poetry anthology was published to celebrate the event.

In attendance was the Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Martyn Bolt, who delivered his own speech on the stereotypes he’s encountered in the area and how important it is to disregard any labels we may associate with individuals and/or certain groups.

To mark the beginning of the presentations one of our own students, Raghad Al-Sous, told her own emotional story of how she came to live in the UK as a Syrian refugee. The conference was on Raghad’s 18th birthday, and at the end of her speech the New Theatre crowd serenaded her with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to mark the occasion.

Staff members from the college were also involved in the diversity conference, with Schools Liaison Officer Ben Burgin hosting the event and being joined on stage by Health and Social Care teachers Chris Madej and Katie Griffiths who sang and signed to ‘You Raise Me Up’.

Our own dance students took to the stage at various points during the show to perform routines on the theme of ‘Challenging Stereotypes’ that they had choreographed themselves as part of their courses.

Associate Assistant Principal Zoe Shackleton, who contributed to organising the event, said: “Once again the diversity conference has been a fantastic event, and the schools involved have put together some brilliant presentations and poetry. We’re delighted to be able to host such a thought-provoking event and to continue to raise awareness of a variety of issues related to equality, diversity and inclusion.

“There’s always a great response from the schools and the students get really involved in their submissions. We hope to keep hosting this really important conference for years to come.”

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