"Race, Identity and School Leadership" Programme

A Race Equality Programme for School Leaders who want to embed change and create new possibilities for future generations.

Cut out of hands with different skin colour

“Race, Identity and School Leadership” Programme

A Race Equality Programme for School Leaders who want to embed change and create new possibilities for future generations.

Context

When the world witnessed the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, race equality and social justice were firmly placed back on the agenda.

The ensuing events in the UK and across the globe demonstrated why there can be no papering over the cracks if the dream of race equality is to become a reality for us all.

Society needs to be transformed and our Headteachers and Senior School Leaders have a key role to play in its transformation.

Headteachers shape the culture, the vision, the ethos of their schools and hence through their actions, determine what race equality and social justice look like within their own contexts. And so, it is vital School Leaders develop the self-awareness, knowledge and competencies to drive this work forward.

This work is challenging work, but it is the right work. As it is only by leaning into the uncomfortable spaces and finding help and support that something new, something better, can be brought to life.

To help leaders in MATs, schools, local authorities and other education bodies who are looking to undertake this important work, we have developed our ‘Race, identity and School Leadership’ Programme.

This programme is designed to bring about long-lasting change and impact whole School Leadership learning, policy and practice.

What is the Purpose of the Programme?

The underpinning philosophy of the programme is that of Ubuntu:​

“Ubuntu is the essence of being human. We say a person is a person through other persons. We are made for togetherness, to live in a delicate network of interdependence.”

“I need other human beings in order to be human myself. If one person is dehumanised then inexorably we are all diminished and dehumanised in our turn.”

Desmond Tutu

What will the programme provide?

The programme provides supportive and non-judgemental learning environments where School Leaders can:

  • Develop the agency, confidence and racial literacy necessary to effectively tackle and explore issues around race in their individual school contexts
  • Overcome the emotional and psychological barriers associated with discussing race (e.g. fear of making mistakes or causing offence)
  • Create and refine personalised strategic approaches to best support the achievement and experience of pupils of different races and backgrounds
  • Develop more inclusive and anti-racist school cultures where pupils and staff alike feel listened to and understood

Programme Structure

This is a two-year long school improvement programme, designed to impact leadership policy and practice. The programme consists of four elements:

1

Race Equality Workshops

2

Reflective Enquiry Sessions

3

Orientation and ‘Review, Reflect, Return’ Sessions

4

Race Literacy Coaching (Optional)

Race Equality Workshops and Reflective Enquiry Sessions

The workshops and enquiry sessions are for senior leaders and are designed to provide a safe space where School Leaders can:
  • Reflect on personal learning experiences to understand educational implications of race
  • Advance their knowledge on key issues and principles of racial equality, race socialisation and social justice
  • Create new leadership narratives that can help to shape school culture, climate and ethos
  • Learn how to engage in school-wide dialogue that will inform professional practice and impact positively on the lived experiences of all pupils
Boy writing at table
Woman looking at computer

Racial Literacy Coaching

We understand how destabilising it can feel internally when you are coming to know yourself differently with regard to race and the need for safe spaces to support this inner growth.

That’s why we also offer Racial Literacy Coaching to provide private non-judgmental space where leaders explore personal challenges, insights, and achievements along the way. This coaching can help leaders to develop:

  • Enhanced self-awareness and ability to understand how their own racial identity can positively support this work
  • A greater sense of personal fulfilment and confidence when leading on and discussing race with peers and others
  • Enhanced understanding of personal strengths and areas for development and how to work with both, for the benefit of self, others and the wider school community
  • Better relationships founded on a secure understanding of race dynamic

Programme Content

Year 1

Year 2

Creating A New Narrative

How White Headteachers and MAT CEOs can Champion Anti-Racism

Testimonials

The programme has exceeded my expectations. I expected to learn how to become a better leader, which happened, but I am forever changed as a person. I know myself better and I understand others better as a result. I’ve developed new perspectives of life that will support anti-racist work, the courage to have potentially difficult conversations and most importantly, the courage to act and make our communities better.

Matt Ball

Headteacher, Bishop Gilpin Primary School