Coaching & Leadership Development
Why Schools Fail to Tackle Racism

Why Schools Fail to Tackle Racism

  This thought piece comes from former Headteacher, executive coach and Integrity Coaching Associate, Claire Stewart-Hall   We have all learned to avoid talking about race in English schools.   We can talk about it in deficit, this child can’t do this or can’t do that… this intervention is needed… but there is a gap in professional teacher discourse about the role race and identity have in everyday school situations and school structures.   What if professionals felt uncomfortable voicing the concerns they had about dynamics that masculinity or femininity were having on teenagers or reception children? Imagine if we chose not to be conscious of contesting, questioning and countering gender stereotypes of children and the impact of our own gender in situations as professionals?   If we chose to ignore the different effects of gender when dealing with behaviour or in safeguarding? It would lead to multiple professional misinterpretations and mistakes. We would be neglecting to prepare children to become their future selves and not understanding the many layers of a child’s social reactions to teacher-student/student-student situations. Surprising then, that white teachers and leaders ignore the role of race in everyday school dynamics.   No Problem Here? In fact, there is such silence about race in schools that it is now a gaping hole in our professional toolkit. It is rarely included in professional development because we don’t know how to talk about it or even voice that we can’t talk about it. Perhaps this is because there is an acknowledgment that most white staff feel so unequipped to unpick the role their own racial identity is having. Perhaps white teachers...