About Us

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In this section:

Our statement

Rugby School is proud to celebrate diversity and to champion equity and inclusion. We know that we learn best in a diverse and inclusive society. At Rugby we are fortunate to be able to welcome students and staff from around the world and from all socio-economic backgrounds.

In emphasising that the Whole Person is the Whole Point, Rugby highlights the powerful interconnection between our inner temperaments and the different communities – local, national and international – within which we function.  While today’s generation of Rugbeians values diversity, champions inclusion and works hard to create the equity which these demand, we are aware that external pressures may challenge that commitment. We encourage all Rugbeians to reflect inwardly, following in the footsteps of Matthew Arnold’s* exhortation to ‘Choose equality and flee greed’ to ensure that we become and remain active, instinctive forces in support of the moral and social good of diversity and inclusion; and also to look outwards so as to create the connections and environment which will foster these positive, inclusive and responsible communities.

Our ‘Whole Person, Whole Point’ ethos is underpinned by 3 R’s – Reflection, Restlessness and Rootedness. The recent past has caused Rugby, like many institutions, to reflect on our approach to equity, diversity and inclusion.  That reflection prompted restlessness among many members of our community – past and present – as well as a sense of shared vulnerability which has led both to action and a renewed sense of shared purpose. Inclusion is about belonging.  We want all of our students and staff to feel rooted in the community of Rugby, so that it is a place in which they can form deep and long-lasting friendships, can grow to better understand themselves and can be equipped with the values which mean they can change the world for the better.

There are six key strands to our approach:

The Curriculum

The Floreat Programme: All students in the School participate in a weekly programme of seminars and lectures in which the many aspects of Relationship, Health and Sex Education (RHSE) are discussed and debated. We place a particular emphasis on relationships and the rights and responsibilities of living in a community like Rugby.

A diversified curriculum: We have recognised the need to review and reform our curriculum to ensure that if reflects and supports the diversity of the School community and significant changes have been made, for example in History a new term-long unit, ‘Migration and the UK’ has been introduced to the F Block (Year 9). This unit includes a depth study of the Windrush years, and broader enquiry into social and cultural connections brought about by legacies of empire and colonisation. In English seeing through others’ eyes is at the heart of Middle School lessons. Students begin the GCSE course with a speech by Chimamanda Adichie. They consider the Danger of a Single Story: “The single story” she says, “creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.” The study of literature explodes stereotypes by inviting us into others’ lives.

Schools of Empire Project: We have established a ground-breaking project to better understand the historic links between Public Schools, ideas of ‘race’ and Empire. We are excited to be working closely with leading academics, to be welcoming research students and to be building resources for both for Rugby School students and for other schools.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP): The IBDP was introduced to Rugby in 2021. A central reason for embracing this holistic approach to education was the way that the IB embraces diversity and supports inclusivity through its innovative and forward-thinking curriculum.

Sector Leading Bursary Provision

The Lawrence Sheriff** bequest means that for many years Rugby has had an unusually large and strong foundation to support means-tested day places. This exceptional foundation was further developed from 2003 with the creation of The Arnold Foundation. This provides 100%+ boarding bursary support for students who could not otherwise afford a Rugby education. The Lawrence Sheriff Foundation and The Arnold Foundation students are integral to the School and reflect our commitment that a Rugby education should be accessible to people regardless of their social or economic background.


We are proud of our broad and deep range of mutually sustaining and beneficial partnerships. Some have been going for many years, others have started recently. We are always keen to hear from prospective partners. Interested individuals or organisations should contact the Deputy Executive Head Master, Dr Neil Hampton: ngh@rugbyschool.net

Rugby 360 (Rugby’s Community Action programme): All students at Rugby are involved in service. We work with many local schools and charities.

The Arnold Foundation: Working with our partners has been central to the success of The Arnold Foundation. Our partner organisations are educational charities or maintained schools in socio-economic disadvantaged areas. We have established alliances with The Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation, IntoUniversity,  the Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy and Hope Opportunity Trust, and Ysgol Dewi Sant in St David’s Wales.

Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys (BCSB) in Baltimore, MD, USA: We are delighted to work with BCSB as a strong fulfilment of our belief in internationalism and the value of diverse ethnic, social and economic perspectives.  Currently, both staff and students from the two schools work together on different classroom and management projects.  We are developing a scholarship programme to enable students from BCSB to attend Rugby School and a British university and intend to develop further exchanges as and when the Covid pandemic allows.

ResearchED, Rugby: Rugby is proud to sponsor and host a very well-attended, annual ResearchEd conference, in partnership with the David Ross Educational Trust. This attracts large numbers of delegates from the maintained and independent sectors and a wide array of speakers addressing all areas of secondary education.  In 2021, the conference successfully transplanted itself into the virtual context, where presentations and conversations continued to thrive.

Student leadership and the Rugbeian Community

All students and staff play a part in shaping the culture of the School. We have developed a structure of student leadership and feedback that seeks to ensure all voices are heard. The Levee(prefects) all have clear job descriptions and are expected to hold regular council meetings in order to hear diverse views. In 2020 we established the position of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Levée. Currently, five senior students hold the role of EDI Levée and are active in promoting the values of the School. They work closely with teachers, promote discussion through initiatives such as ‘teach-outs’ and aim to build as inclusive a community as possible.

The system of student councils provides a good opportunity for student voice to be heard. All students are also given the opportunity to complete online surveys on a termly basis with each survey focusing on a different aspect of School life.

A committee comprising staff, students, alumni (The Rugbeian Society), parents, governing body (GB) members, and external support, oversees the development of the whole EDI agenda in the School.  It meets twice a term and is responsible for ensuring that the GB, senior management team (SMT) and wider School keep working strongly towards our vision of assuring an equitable, instinctively inclusive, socially and ethnically diverse community.

External support

A willingness to accept that we don’t have all the answers is a significant part of our will to be inclusive. We are proud and delighted to be working with a range of external partners, including experts from Oxford and Exeter Universities, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Blueprint for All (formerly the Stephen Lawrence Trust) and others.  These have been invaluable to our strategic and operational growth.

Staff recruitment

It is important to us that our staff body reflects the diversity of our student population. We are committed to recruiting the best candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds and to helping all colleagues to thrive when at Rugby. While the strong sense of community and the many benefits of working at Rugby School are evident to those employed here we recognise independent schools can feel like unfamiliar places to those who have not had personal experience of them.  If you would like to learn more about working at Rugby then please do contact us by email at recruitment@rugbyschool.net

The HR team will direct your email to a potential colleague who will contact you for an informal conversation. Further information and details of job opportunities can be found here

* Matthew Arnold – English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, Rugby School’s revolutionary and greatest Head Master
** Lawrence Sheriff – Rugby School’s founder, 1567

Get involved

Dr Justin Muston, Assistant Head (Formation) is the member of the SMT with particular responsibility for leading and developing the School’s approach to equity, diversity and inclusion.  Justin can be contacted at JDM@rugbyschool.net.  Mrs Liz Sale is the School’s Designated Safeguarding Lead. She can be contacted at els@rugbyschool.net

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