Contributions to ED&I initiatives recognised at the 2023 Place to be Proud of Awards
Queen Mary’s College (QMC) is proud to announce that two of its exceptional teachers, Stella Gibbons and Katherine Bejide, have been shortlisted for the prestigious ‘Above and Beyond’ category at Destination Basingstoke’s 2023 Place to be Proud of Awards. The nominations celebrate their outstanding commitment to promoting Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) both within the college, the wider community and local schools.
Katherine Bejide, a dedicated staff member at QMC for nearly a decade, has left an indelible mark on students, colleagues, and the local community. Her advocacy work focused on raising awareness of refugees, their status, and their experiences in the area. Additionally, Katherine has been a driving force in championing the cause of Neurodiversity, ensuring that both staff and students understand and embrace the challenges faced by individuals who think and behave differently in a mainstream society.
Stella Gibbons, a valued member of the QMC team since September 2010, consistently goes above and beyond her daily duties to ensure equality and inclusivity for all members of the college and the local community. Her unwavering dedication has played a pivotal role in fostering a sense of inclusion, celebration, and appreciation among students with English as a second language. Stella’s visionary approach led to the creation and implementation of a ground-breaking language hub, enabling students and their parents to access key messages in 20 different languages. Through her passion and expertise, Stella has empowered QMC to confidently support and embrace local refugees and asylum seekers.
The recognition of Katherine and Stella at the ‘Above and Beyond’ category reflects the exemplary work carried out by QMC’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Team over the past year. Noteworthy achievements of the team include:
- ‘Stop and Search’ Advocacy Program: In collaboration with Basingstoke Unites Against Racism and Hampshire Police Force, QMC pioneered a unique initiative to address racism and ensure anti-racism remains at the forefront of daily practice. Through workshops and training, the programme aims to create a more inclusive and safeguarding-focused environment. This ground-breaking work has received accolades from various Hampshire organisations, including BBC South Today.
- Refugee Inclusion: QMC became the first college in Hampshire to invite refugees onto its campus, providing them with access to resources and support. Collaborating with Winchester University, QMC also spearheaded the organization of an upcoming conference in June, dedicated to promoting inclusivity among educational institutions countywide.
- Multilingual Language Hub: In a pioneering move, QMC established a unique language hub that offers key messages in multiple languages, catering to the needs of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students and their parents. This innovative initiative has set a precedent for inclusive communication.
- British Sign Language Training: QMC ensured a more inclusive atmosphere by training staff in British Sign Language, enabling effective communication and support for the hearing-impaired.
- Inclusive Learning: The College developed an in-house staff website featuring a curriculum designed to equip educators with the knowledge and tools to confidently deliver inclusive learning experiences.
- Neurodiversity Awareness: QMC organised training sessions and workshops to raise awareness of Neurodiversity among staff, fostering an environment that embraces diverse thinking and behaviour.
- Safety Walks and Themed Weeks: Collaborating with Hampshire Police, QMC hosted Safety Walks to enhance campus security. The college also organised themed weeks aimed at educating students and fostering a fully inclusive culture.
QMC’s nominations for the ‘Above and Beyond’ category at the 2023 Place to be Proud of Awards reflect the institution’s commitment to embracing diversity and fostering inclusivity within its community. By going above and beyond their regular duties, Stella Gibbons and Katherine Bejide have made a profound impact on the lives of students and the wider society. Their unwavering dedication is a testament to QMC’s mission to be a beacon of inclusivity and a catalyst for positive change.
The Place to be Proud of Awards are organised by Destination Basingstoke and are supported by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Basingstoke Voluntary Action and media partner, Basingstoke Gazette. Read more here.