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Sir Ian McKellen visits Denbigh

12 November 2015



On Wednesday 11th November we were honoured to welcome Sir Ian McKellen who visited the school as part of Stonewall’s School Champions programme.

McKellen, who co-founded Stonewall in 1989, is still heavily involved in the organisation’s work and is keen to see the good work being done in schools like Denbigh High to challenge homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and he hopes to inspire the students and staff to do more.

During his visit, Ian met with members of the School Council to discuss the impact of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying and language and to answer questions from students about homophobia and related issues. He also learnt about the wide range of work that takes place across the school to raise awareness and stop HBT bullying.

Ian Stonnell, Acting Teaching and Learning Leader for Humanities, said:

“At Denbigh we strive for all the diverse groups in our community to be feel accepted and enabled to achieve. Having such inspirational speakers such as Sir Ian with us has, without doubt, inspired our many different students to join in in this endeavour. I am sure that this visit has also helped our students realise that they too can be the inspiration of the next generation.”

Ian was then taken on a tour of the school which involved visits to RE, Drama and English lessons before talking to a larger group of students in the main hall. The students were delighted to meet Ian and were captivated by his talk, listening carefully to the important messages and insight that he shared with them.

Sir Ian is one of a number of high profile visitors in recent weeks. The Prime Minister David Cameron, Home Secretary Theresa May and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon visited the school in October to launch the Government’s Counter Extremism Strategy.

Last week Denbigh received further public recognition when the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, mentioned us in her keynote speech; Educational excellence –Turning vision into reality.

In her speech Nicky Morgan said: "I want every child to benefit from the sort of education that young people get at schools like King Solomon Academy in London, Denbigh High School in Luton, and Fernwood School in Nottingham."

Colin Townsend, Headteacher, said:

“We are delighted to have been able to welcome Ian to Denbigh today. We are always eager to enrich learning by engaging with inspirational outside speakers. We also lay great importance in the personal development and welfare of our young people – which encompasses a positive, nurturing and inclusive approach for all. We realise that these are values that resonate with Ian and with Stonewall – his visit today will remain in the minds of many for a long time.”