I started at Bishop Challoner School in 2011, at the end of year 7 after a bad experience of my first choice of secondary school. Since then I haven’t looked back.
I had the time of my life at Challoner, particularly through participation in its exceptional and well talked about music department (and its incredible Mrs Smith). I also enjoyed being in the student voice, and the humour and enthusiasm of all of my teachers. But perhaps the best thing which I most benefited from- which goes largely unnoticed, was the school ethos.
Deeply ingrained into the core of the school- was the belief that everyone was equal and should be treated with respect- which everyone was expected to follow at all time, or suffer the consequences. It is probably because of this that our school was so ethnically diverse, but we just took that for granted. I experienced more bullying in the one year I was at my old school for than the rest of my school life at Bishop Challoner. This might seem too good to be true but I really do think Challoner is an outstanding school in the area, and the Ofsted and exam results certainly don’t contradict this.
But I’m defending my school so publicly because details of an outdated policy, regarding homosexuality, belonging to the school came to the attention of Buzfeed, an online website. And despite the fact that this policy has been called outdated by the Head of the school, people are still insistent that the school might be Homophobic.
I can tell you defiantly that although this old policy may say one thing about the schools’ attitudes, the way this school behaves, in regards to learning support, bullying, homophobia, all the attitudes of my friends, and countless other things says another thing entirely.
I suppose if the worst thing you can say about the school is a scrap of disregarded policy, then that school is really quite extraordinarily good…