How diversity enhances our schools and communities

By Marion Gibbs, Headmistress, James Allen's Girls' School

I am supporting The Social Integration Commission because I am passionate about community action and encouraging people - whatever their social, ethnic, economic background, or circumstances - to work together.

I was the first in my family to gain an O level or stay on at school and I was fortunate to go to university. I have since taught in state and independent schools, for university extra-mural courses and in two prisons. Although my current school, James Allen’s, is independent, our students are from very diverse backgrounds, speaking some 50 home languages. We have over 120 students on bursary places, about half on 100% remission and the rest averaging 89%.

We encourage all our students to become involved in the wider community and make a difference for the better. ‘Good neighbours’ is a basic tenet of our school; if we were all good neighbours in this country, there might be far fewer problems.

Marion is a member of the Commission's Delivery Working Group

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