Steyning Grammar School welcomed star of stage and screen Sir Ian McKellen to address students on Tuesday (February 7).
Patron of Stonewall UK Sir Ian met with students to celebrate equalities and diversity.
Stonewall UK is a charity which campaigns for the lesbian, gay, homosexual and trans people across the UK.
Sir Ian began his visit by meeting with the school’s equalities commissioners and heard how they went into a local primary school and work with year 6 pupils and teachers on equalities issues, running a day called ‘Same But Different’.
He also listened to them explain the different activities they took part in on equalities day which was held at the school in November.
He went to address year 11, year 9 and sixth form students and spoke powerfully about what it was like growing up to be a gay man, and what life can be like for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the UK and the rest of the world.
Mrs Nicol, deputy headteacher, said: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to welcome Sir Ian McKellen into the SGS family to explore an issue that is at the heart of our core values.
“Celebrating diversity and challenging stereotypes are important messages that we as a school share with our students throughout their time with us, but to have this so powerfully reiterated by Sir Ian, who drew on his personal experiences, will have an impact on our young people for some time.
“His words were all that students could talk about following the event and their engagement throughout was exceptional. We will ensure that these messages continue to spread throughout the school and underpin our ethos of kindness and acceptance.”
Sir Ian also challenged students to consider how they treat one another and encouraged questions and feedback.
Staff and students alike were positive about his visit with a number of students saying they were ‘lucky’ to have such a famous actor come to their school and that his words made them think about some really important issues.
Mrs Nicol added: “Our thanks to Sir Ian for visiting and Mrs Masters, head of year 10 for working so hard on the equalities day and providing opportunities for students to understand each other better.”
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