Coaching & Leadership Development
3 Ways to Better Tackle Racism in Schools

3 Ways to Better Tackle Racism in Schools

I recently wrote an article for the TES to mark the 12 month anniversary of the death of George Floyd. If you’d read my original article on the TES website, please click here   After George Floyd was murdered on 25 May 2020, a colleague said to me that their “mind was full and their heart heavy”. I felt the same. Throughout my teaching career, I have witnessed myriad manifestations of racism and a plethora of race equality and social justice initiatives.   Yet, despite the good intentions behind these, the single narrative of colonialism and empire still dominated our classrooms, along with deficit models for addressing the underachievement of pupils from racially marginalised groups. But over the past 12 months, I have felt a growing sense of hope.   I’ve seen that when attempts were made to silence those talking about the institutionalised racism here in the UK, people refused to acquiesce. Collective voices for social justice, equality and equity have continued to speak truth to power.   And I am hopeful because, after 30-plus years in education, things feel different. Schools that I have engaged with as part of our Race, Identity and School Leadership Programme are now recognising that new race equality narratives cannot be written overnight.   They are recognising that becoming anti-racist is a lifelong commitment, one that has as much to do with decolonising their own minds as it has to do with decolonising the curriculum.   The legacy of George Floyd: the need to tackle racism in schools   This gives me hope for the future. At long last, teachers and school leaders are beginning to see that, within...
Race, Identity and School Leadership – Podcast

Race, Identity and School Leadership – Podcast

  “This is about educating all of our children to take their rightful place in society. It really is about equipping every school leader, no matter the shade or colour of their skin, to really engage with this conversation and to do the right “inner work” so they can do the right “outer work” and make a change. ”   In this podcast, I spoke with Caroline Doherty from the Key for School Leaders and Colette Morris, Headteacher at Christ Church Primary School around our Race, Identity and School Leadership programme.   Colette and her staff at Christ Church Primary School have been working with us to explore their own racial identities, bring about long-lasting change and impact whole school leadership, learning, policy and practice with regards to race equality.   As part of this discussion, we explored:   – The history of work that has been going on in schools regarding race and how this conversation is now starting to broaden out and involve more schools   – The importance of understanding your own racial identity and how you view the world before rushing to antiracist “action”   – Why school leaders and their staff should become experts in the racial context of their schools and should seek to understand the conversations that take place both in school and outside school about race   – The need for teachers to understand and be comfortable in their own identities before they talk about race with pupils   – How Colette has taken a whole school approach to addressing race and identity, and established specific “lines of enquiry” to work on   –...
Why Reflective Spaces are Key to Growth

Why Reflective Spaces are Key to Growth

This expert thinkpiece comes from facilitator, mediator and Integrity Coaching Associate, Joshua Okunlola. Historically, the western view of development has been very linear. We are born, we go to school, we become adults, other things happen, and we eventually die.   As a result, adults are individuals who have everything they need to be successful and take their place fully in society. As for the unlikely few who are not like this, there isn’t much that they can do.   However, I believe development is not linear, nor is it as ordered and determinist as we in western society see it. Instead, we develop in cycles. With each Cycle, there are continuing opportunities to develop and get the developmental messages that we need to grow and take our place in the world.   Growth isn’t a one-time event, where we can say ‘yep, I am fully grown’. Instead, growth is observed in stages and triggered by the different seasons we find ourselves in life, e.g., a new job, first day at school etc.   Each season is pregnant with possibility, and the use of affirmations within each season are ways we can “give permission and support our natural developmental process.” (Pam Levin)   The cycle of development is a neat framework for understanding the seasonal developmental needs individuals experience at different stages throughout their lives.   The Cycle of Development   The Cycle of development has six stages: Being, Doing, Thinking, Identity, Skills and Structure and Integration.   Each stage has varied development tasks, which give voice to what we are being invited into. Firstly, to take our place more fully in the present...