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Headmaster who came out as gay in assembly 'overwhelmed' by response from pupils

Excl: "There have also been more than 300 supportive and positive messages across social media" says Nicholas Hewlett, head of St Dunstan’s College

2021-02-01

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: St Dunstan's College/provided (showing Nicholas Hewlett, left, and husband)

A headmaster who came out as gay and introduced his husband in a virtual assembly has said he is "overwhelmed" by the response from pupils.

Nicholas Hewlett, head of the £18,000-a-year St Dunstan’s College in Catford, made the announcement today in what is thought to be a first in the UK education system.

He today told Attitude: "I have been overwhelmed with the response from students, parents and staff.

"This included a very kind email from the prefect team over the weekend saying how supportive they are of my decision, and how proud they are to be part of St Dunstan’s College."

"There have also been more than 300 supportive and positive messages across social media"

Hewlett is in a civil partnership with Alberic Elson [pictured above, right], director of music of Whitgift School in nearby Croydon.

The head added: "There have also been more than 300 supportive and positive messages across social media, even from parents of students at other schools."

He added: "In many ways, it’s sad that this has to be a story in 2021, but as I’ve said many times, if this can help even one student feel more comfortable about who they are, then it’s worth it. My assembly is just the start of LGBTQ+ Week at St Dunstan’s, and I know the students and staff are really looking forward to all of the talks and activities for the week ahead."

Hewlett explained in a previous interview that he was inspired to come out by one of his pupils who is openly gay.

Responding to the news, Andrew Moffat of inclusive education charity No Outsiders said: "How wonderful to have a headteacher feel safe enough and supported enough to come out to his school. What a wonderful signal to pupils and staff – our school is a place where everyone really is welcome, and no one should feel they have to hide who they are when they walk through the gates.

"It’s also a clear signal to teachers and headteachers around the UK that LGBT+ people can be visible in education, and we are everywhere! I wish Nicholas and his school all the best for the coming year."

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