“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
– How vital it is to talk to pupils about their feelings about race
– How the Race, Identity and School Leadership programme balances academic thinking, discussion and co-creation
Through the Black Lives Matter Movement racial equality and social justice have now been firmly placed back on the agenda and schools must be at the forefront as agents for change.
Black children and black teachers need to know that in the UK education system their lives really do matter and see this evidenced as part of their lived daily reality. Headteachers and senior school leaders have a key role to play in making this happen.
Together, you shape the culture, the vision, the ethos for your school. Together, you determine in practice what racial equality and social justice look like. And together, you must decide the leadership that is needed for these times.
This is a courageous path that you will have to travel, because it will require you to explore issues of identity and integrity and what they truly mean in the context of your own school settings. It will require you to have difficult conversations and face uncomfortable truths.
Yet it is these sorts of conversations which truly define leadership and are fundamental to growth and positive change. What’s more, it’s only by leaning into the uncomfortable spaces and finding with help and support that something new, something better can be brought to life.
That’s why we have now developed our new ‘Race, identity and School Leadership’ Programme to provide a safe spaces for reflection and discussion for school leaders to explore the implications of recent events and begin to unpick implications for themselves and their schools.
The programme will provide spaces for school leaders to explore:
– Identify key principles of racial equality and social justice and what best practice looks like in individual school contexts
– Question and reflect on the prevailing narratives that have shaped the discourse on race, identity, education and the achievement of Black pupils
– Use a narrative enquiry framework to identify how to create personal and organisational narratives that support the achievement of Black pupils
– Equip senior school leaders with the necessary psychological and emotional tools for engaging in difficult conversations about race
– Increase leaders own sense of personal agency and ability to act as an agent of change