Our Executive Principal’s Five Highlights of the Week

Bonjour! How lucky am I to be sending this week’s blog all the way from the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, having attended the Global Inclusive Schools’ Forum? My top five moments from this week have all happened here, so allow me to share them with you below.

  • Being asked to lead the Saudi delegation for the International Forums of Inclusion Practitioners (IFIP) was a huge honour, and a massive responsibility. We are so proud to be operating in Riyadh, and showcasing how inclusion works for all children. I was asked about the context of educating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and I was very proud to share how we’ve taken our school’s values and excellence and layered them over the Kingdom’s aspirations in Saudi Vision 2030 – thus co-creating a truly innovative and tailored experience for all of our children and staff. The fact that we can use Beech Hall School Riyadh to showcase the amazing work going on in Riyadh – supported by the Ministry of Education, the Royal Commission for Riyadh City and indeed the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia – makes me proud and humbled. 
  • Contributing to a panel discussion on how you can support parents to fully engage with inclusion was an amazing opportunity. Never did I think that I would be asked to speak at such a prestigious location as UNESCO Headquarters, and to share the amazing work that is being done at BHSR was truly one of the proudest moments of my career. I shared many examples of how our wonderful parents contribute to our truly inclusive environment, championing their children on a daily basis. I am always so proud of every member of the BHSR family, but yesterday was a truly shining example of that. And based on the number of questions and comments afterwards, from practitioners from all over the world, it is clear to see we are making waves. 
  • Seeing our founder and CEO, Anita Gleave, chair a panel reminded me of the incredible work that all of the Chatsworth Schools and Blenheim Schools are doing around the world to reimagine education. None of this could be possible without her vision, her passion, and her grit – and we are all the more fulfilled and successful for it. And to see her encourage the entire audience to ‘shake their thing’ for a sensory break is honestly something I never thought I would see on the UNESCO stage!
  • We still have a long way to go when it comes to inclusion. The first day was celebrating 30 years since the Salamanca Agreement was made, promoting the approach of inclusion in schools worldwide. The fact that we still need events like this one, to explore how we do it, shows that the journey is really only just getting going. However, to bring the world’s policymakers and practitioners together in one place to share their research and best practices  is the only way to move this forward. We’re so proud that BHSR is taking part in that incredibly important conversation, not only for all of our pupils, but for other children around the world. 
  • Finally, spending time with my fellow Heads from Chatsworth, as well as some of our Directors and Anita, has simply been the best. Headship can sometimes be a lonely place, and to spend some meaningful time with my friends and peers was such fun. We shared challenges, laughed about the funny bits, and talked openly about all of our amazing schools. It was wonderful, and to know that you have a team who act like a squad of cheerleaders and friends truly means the world. They all turned up for my panel and sat in a smiley row, all beaming with encouragement. I hope that they know that I am just as proud of them. We are a team, and together we are awesome!

My experience in Paris has been nothing short of remarkable. While our journey towards inclusivity is ongoing, it’s clear that with the help of dedicated colleagues and supportive networks, we’re set to continue making waves – I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Clemmie Stewart,
Executive Principal