Eleanor Herring has been appointed King’s Ely’s new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Lead.

Mrs Herring joined us as an Art Technician in 2021. She was brought up in North Yorkshire and has had a wonderfully vibrant education, including Sheffield Hallam University, Kookmin University in South Korea, the University of Oxford, and City and Guilds in London. Before joining King’s, her career to date has included working with diverse organisations, including London Pride and Diwali in London, as well as working internationally in art and design.

We had a quick catch-up with Mrs Herring to find out what her EDI plans are over the coming weeks and months…

Are you excited to be King’s Ely’s new EDI Lead, Mrs Herring?

“I am thrilled to have been appointed as the new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for King’s Ely! As an already well-established part of our school, I am looking forward to seeing how we can expand and develop the fantastic work we have already achieved so far. We live in a multicultural society and embracing the values of various cultures only strengthens our understanding and appreciation of the world. I love learning about the little differences which make us all unique, so I cannot wait to educate myself more about the students’ diverse selves and finding ways to celebrate them.”

What does EDI mean to you?

“For me, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion means understanding and celebrating each other’s differences and unique qualities and passions. At the end of the day, we are all diverse – we all have a distinctive heritage, culture, colour, language, gender, identity, physical abilities or otherwise that makes us special. We should understand and celebrate the value of each human being’s makeup to ensure they feel equal and included.

“I have a mixed background, with a cultural heritage spanning the British Isles but also further afield into Europe, which I can see filtering through my own personality traits. I have also lived and studied abroad at University level in South Korea, and my husband’s family hails, in part, from East Africa and India. All these diverse elements of my cultural heritage and experiences, I believe, have helped to not only enrich my life, but have also had a positive influence on the person I am today.

“I am also interested in exploring the other sometimes less visible aspects which make us different from one another. These can be the way we think, the way we process and express ourselves, or the way we compute information, otherwise known as being neurodiverse. For instance, I identify as neurodiverse being Dyslexic – reading words on a large presentation screen practically terrifies me as I am a very slow reader who can often mix up words. I also had a speech impediment when I was younger too, which can, on occasion, make me tongue-tied when nervous. These characteristics have been difficulties I have had to conquer throughout my life and have made me stronger for it. But I also understand how difficult it can be to feel different, when really our strengths just lie in different places to other’s.”



Describe how you see EDI currently at King’s.

“I am fortunate to carry on the already fantastic work of Mr Allen, who, during his time at King’s, established the prefect-led King’s Unity group to help highlight LGBTQ+ and Inclusion topics, throughout both the school’s curriculum and a series of engaging events, and helped King’s Ely to win the Rainbow Flag Award from the Cambridgeshire-based LGBTQ+ charity, The Kite Trust. So, I have some pretty big shoes to fill!

“On top of continuing in his footsteps, I hope to develop other areas of our diverse community. Here at King’s, we are fortunate to be represented by over 35 nationalities, cultures, people we may not have been lucky enough to meet and make friends with otherwise. Plus, a range of neurodivergencies. I hope we can continue to learn from each other’s cultural and religious festivals and variances to be a more openminded and tolerant society which celebrates each other’s annual calendar highlights, and include and support those who may work and learn in a slightly different way than ourselves, which can often feel rather isolating at times.”

What is your vision/plan for the academic year ahead?

“Throughout this academic year, I am keen that each month we take a deeper look at a series of varied diverse events in line with the national and international annual calendar of highlighted celebrations. I am keen to host a series of inspirational speakers, event leaders, allies and mentors, to represent and celebrate with our students, to help educate them in a positive and engaging way, to learn what it means to be different, and revel in it, in whatever way that may be.

“I am eager to work with different departments here at King’s to engage students on inclusion through various ways, whether that be through music, sport, science or different dishes in the Dining Hall. Given that I am part of the Art and Design Department, I am also keen to play to my artistic strengths by exploring creative ways to celebrate and learn about cultural festivals and wider world topics through crafts.

“However, I am most interested to hear what our students want, as it is my job to help them to develop their own personal understanding and celebrate each other’s differences, unique qualities and passions.

“Finally, I was inspired recently by a quote from an African American Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, which I feel sums up Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: ‘For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.'”

Mrs Herring is keen to hear from students, staff and parents/carers about EDI matters – eleanorherring@kingsely.org


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