Head teacher of private school says older people should take ‘woke’ pupils’ concerns seriously 

The headmistress of a leading private girls’ school has defended ‘woke’ pupils and demanded older generations stop labelling them ‘snowflakes’.

Samantha Price, head of Benenden School in Kent, said that dismissing students who demand change could mean they give up on equality and sustainability campaigns. 

Mrs Price, president of the Girls’ Schools Association, will tell her organisation’s annual conference in Manchester that some parents are ‘deeply unsettled’ about issues such as gender identity and should be helped to understand the ‘new language’ around such topics.

Samantha Price, head of Benenden School in Kent, said that dismissing students who demand change could mean they give up on equality and sustainability campaigns

Samantha Price, head of Benenden School in Kent, said that dismissing students who demand change could mean they give up on equality and sustainability campaigns

But she will call on school leaders to challenge anyone who dismisses the younger generation as ‘woke’, ‘snowflakes’ or a part of the ‘cancel culture’.

Mrs Price said: ‘I think that if they are consistently dismissed in this way then what will happen is that they will just give up.

‘As they go into their 20s and into further maturity, what was such a passion for them will end up just going by the wayside.’

‘Therefore we probably won’t see the level of progress in society – from sustainability through to equality – that I think we have the opportunity to be able to see and sustain now if we, our generation, handle this effectively.’ 

In a speech to more than 100 heads of private girls’ schools, Mrs Price will also criticise references to teenagers as being ‘woke’ and adults who comment that they cannot say anything without being ‘called out’ by young people. 

She will say: ‘It would be unforgivable for the older generation to close its mind to new ideas, to retreat to ‘the good old days’ and dismiss the energetic changes of this generation as something to be referred to in derogatory tones and sighs.

In her speech, Mrs Price will also call for the delivery of Relationships and Sex Education to be made a compulsory part of teacher training.

She will say: ‘To really teach and facilitate these discussions well, teachers need to be prepared and confident to manage this.’

Benenden School in Kent (pictured). The leading private girls' school's headmistress has defended ‘woke’ pupils and demanded older generations stop labelling them ‘snowflakes’

Benenden School in Kent (pictured). The leading private girls’ school’s headmistress has defended ‘woke’ pupils and demanded older generations stop labelling them ‘snowflakes’

‘What has really struck me is that this so-called ‘woke’ generation are actually simply young people who care about things: about causes, about the planet, about people. 

‘It ultimately comes down to something very simple: being kind.’

Pupils have been demanding action on an array of issues after a number of high-profile movements – including Black Lives Matter and efforts at combating sexual harassment – gained momentum during the pandemic. 

The GSA president said schools have run more diversity workshops with parents, developed pupil-led inclusion groups, and appointed inclusion leads in the past year in response to student campaigns.

In her school, a group of Asian students recently launched a twice-termly newsletter – which addresses Asian-related issues and perceptions – as they felt there was a lack of understanding about their culture, Mrs Price told PA.

On gender identity, Mrs Price told PA: ‘There is quite a shift in terms of what this generation determine as being equality, and their understanding of gender, compared to my generation.

‘And I think that the more you talk with parents, the more their understanding develops. Otherwise it can feel quite alien.’

However Mrs Price drew the line at ‘walking out of class over climate’, explaining that does not think that ‘standing in a street with a banner’ will have much of an impact on the fight against climate change.

Many schools have changed commemorative names in the wake of anti-racism protests, including in Bristol, where institutions have shifted away from being associated with slave trader Edward Colston after his statue was toppled by a mob.

A school in East Sussex also said it was dropping Winston Churchill as a house name after pupils protested that he ‘promoted racism and inequality’ and was guilty of torture, while in Yorkshire a primary school changed the names of its houses from Sir Walter Raleigh, Admiral Nelson and Francis Drake after a former pupil said they supported ‘institutionalised racism’.  

Source

Hippo Sighting Report

Help us out, we really appreciate it.

Help contribute to our research, and let us know if you have seen similar situations that we may have missed. Our team will review the details you provide and add to our main list once we verify the information.

stay informed

Subscribe and get the updated Hippo List.

Get notified when we release our updated lists by email.

Make a Donation

Thank you for subscribing!

We will send you an email to confirm your details.  Welcome aboard!

Thanks for sending us your report.

We will review your information, and publish in on our list once we validate the details.