January 20, 2023

Quaker Week 2023

Quaker Week 2023 was launched in Collect on Friday 20th January with Stephen Taynton, Head of Philosophy, Religious Studies and Values, asking the community to consider what the Quaker values meant to them personally. He explained that the testimonies of Simplicity, Truth, Respect, Integrity, Peace, Equality and Sustainability offer a foundation to living a life of purpose and went on to share a little of the history of Quakerism. Three Old Leightonians, Seb Wallace, a city financier, Jon Beale, Development Director at Standing Voice, an albinism charity in Africa, and Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator the United Nations, shared the impact that their time at Leighton Park had had on the direction of their own lives. Seb summed it up simply for our current students by saying “all we have to do is to do the right thing.”

On Monday 23rd January Shaun Dellenty, our Diversity and Inclusion Officer, presented to Year 9 who gathered in Peckover to learn more about the value of social justice. Touching on the themes of integrity, respect and equality, Shaun took them through his own journey as the first teacher willing to talk openly to the press about the challenges for homosexuals in education and the difficulties as well as the opportunities that he has experienced. Students were given an understanding of intersectionality and the importance of tolerance, acceptance and fair treatment for all with Shaun’s background providing an insightful series of anecdotes to put the ideas into context for our pupils.

Thursday 26th January welcomed Howard Grace to the Park for a Year 11 talk on ‘Forgiveness’ in the Main Hall accompanied by Quakers in Britain Liaison Officer, Julia Dover. He presented a video which he has recently produced about reconciliation in apartheid South Africa and engaged the students in a talk requiring their contribution through a series of questions. The video told the tragic story of a family whose daughter was killed in an attack on a restaurant motivated by racial hatred and the subsequent interaction between the girl’s mother and the man who ordered the attack.  “The talk reflected the very values of our School, mainly peace and integrity. It was a powerful message on the need to go beyond hatred and reconcile and forgive.” commented Stephen.

On the same day, Duncan Cadbury, spoke to our Sixth Form Business Students in Peckover Hall. Duncan’s ancestor was George Cadbury, founder of Bournville, and Duncan was until recently CEO of Bournville Village Trust, and remains a trustee. George Cadbury’s son, also called George, was one of Leighton Park’s earliest pupils and later became a long-serving governor of the School. The Cadbury family are one of the most famous Quaker families, providing housing, education and fair remuneration for their workers at a time when the majority of industrialists placed their value on profit over people. The Cadbury’s looked after their workforce, establishing the suburb of Bournville to provide a community close to the factory and offering a radical pattern to other philanthropic entrepreneurs which demonstrated social conscience, integrity, respect and a sense of equality.

Quaker Week 2023

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