February 2020 - Being able to understand this position as something she calls “intersectionality” opens up the possibility of seeing and understanding many more spaces of cross-cutting interests. That is, understanding the social position black women ought to compel us to see, and look for, other spaces where systems of inequality come together. Just as important to this possibility of continuous change are the qualities of what Collins variously terms alternative or black feminist epistemology. This notion implies that the emphasis on social, scientific knowledge has hindered social reform. In this way of thinking about things, all knowledge is political and can be used to serve specific group interests. Social science is particularly susceptible to this because it simultaneously objectifies its subjects and denies the validity of lived experience as a form of knowing. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Patricia-Hill-Collins-%3A-Intersecting-Oppressions-Collins/a976d21759a3647422ea30252a1997aab5c6cbd5

Kimberlé Crenshaw, the academic and alleged originator of the term and theorist behind INTERSECTIONALITY.
Here she writes on Intersectionality, More than Two Decades Later
https://www.law.columbia.edu/pt-br/news/2017/06/kimberle-crenshaw-intersectionality

Intersectionality - A Disadvantaged Life - potentially leading to oppression

The Truth and Nothing But the Truth - behind these identities is much more. These identities lead to a fulfilled life, not a wholly oppressed one - My identity is based on my values and behaviours; this is what leads to largely equal access to opportunities

'From the perspective of a mixed black Caribbean leader, how do I influence the motivations and capacity of future leaders in a climate of diverse school leadership models to meet the needs of an English contemporary society?’

What I am learning is about has been how the past has and continues to influence my values and behaviours. The research I intend to undertake will enable me to focus on the future and begin to identify how I am influencing others in a rapidly changing educational  climate as a leader who is in an influential position as a primary school improvement advisor.

Why do I want to undertake this living research?

 

Possibly using a narrative methodology from a unique position allows me to influence others who find themselves in school leadership roles, so that others too feel further connected in a tangible way and hence hopeful.

 

I think the reason I like a narrative methodology is varied, but principally because I have for 30 years studied and worked in a business that means that my real voice is often curbed.  I am constrained because, as I will explore later, I tend to suffer more than most when I do present a viewpoint that others don’t hold or understand. Whilst valuing the need for ethics in research methods I can still at least, if not wholly, present a viewpoint without  retribution or fear that I will lose my job or be adversely affected.

I recognise that my ontological values constantly evolve, which influence my thoughts and behaviours. Ultimately the core values  I hold now are the values that I have held since I recognised I was a person. It is these values that have been the sun to my universe and just like the sun, have kept me grounded. I am keen to explore further how my values have influenced and how they can and might influence my life and that of others similar to me in my role as a primary school improvement advisor. 

 

I share the belief with Jack Whitehead as he states -

I believe that each person has a responsibility to try to enhance their educational influence, while realising their other myriad responsibilities to: themselves; their family and friends; more distanced people such as employers and local community; and to contribute to the flourishing of humanity.

 Whitehead, Jack. Living Theory Research As A Way Of Life . Brown Dog Books. Kindle Edition.

My truth is created by my meanings and experiences and if I can share my unique position as shown in my research by the diagrams in the opening of this blog, then it may be able to influence others and be used to contribute toward the flourishing of humanity.

 

The drive to feel connected with others, even if this means suffering

At a lecture in 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-28gv8W8B0s  I was asked to look at the image of black people malnourished. During this lecture we were told it is very important for us to understand suffering, because it makes us human. I interpreted this as it helps us to feel validated and connected to our world - ontology. In the words of Yuval Noah Harari ‘If you want to know the truth about the universe, about the meaning of life and about your own identity the best place to start is by observing suffering and exploring what it is.’ https://twitter.com/wiserhumans/status/1106604827151384576  

 

There is no doubt, like others I have suffered. In the two and half years that I have been discussing theories and theorists with the group,  I have learnt so much about influencing values, theories and dynamics, and it has enabled me to be even more reflective, not just in my role as a primary school advisor, but also as a human and the other roles I play in this life - mother, wife, neighbour etc.

Being made redundant from the role of executive headteacher was a humiliating experience for me. The immediate lead up to and post the event I felt like I was in and then recovering from a major car crash. Not only did I have a complicated fractured leg to manage, but also the crisis that ensued in my mind from the rejection and possibly unjust treatment I was experiencing at what I considered to be the height of my career.

http://www.pandagoeswest.co.uk/441366097  I turned that anger and frustration into finding out more about human behaviours, epistemology, philosophical theories and global education climates. I became determined initially for my story, reflections and later the beginning of my research led process to continue and for any theory or outcomes to be not just about me, but people like me to influence others. I determined that my story not to end, but for that car crash like journey to be a junction that I would walk away from, and use those scars to emerge even more empowered, resilient and later share and celebrate my values. I didn't walk away from that crash on my own. I had many helping hands who showed me their compassion and love too. I have embraced the past since and intend to use the lessons with an aim to influence the motivations and capacity of future leaders in a climate of diverse school leadership models to meet the needs of an English contemporary society.  I believe that it has been the realisation that what happened during the lead up to and during my redundancy was a culmination of events, some of which were in my control, some were not. What I remain keen to research is what values and behaviours do successful black leaders hold and develop that help them to thrive, despite the unique challenges they face.  

 

I continue to hone and identify my values that lead to my subjective and at times objective understanding of the world and ultimately form the bedrock of my thoughts and behaviours.

 

I do not yet know what my theories are. I have a variety of opinions, so may consider using  those as a bedrock to my initial research, so that I can metamorphose them into theories. My opinions constantly evolve as my ontological values evolve.

Here are some

  • Regardless of the colour of your skin, how you identify as a person pretty much determines the opportunities open to you.
  • I believe people of black heritage are pitted against in the UK, sometimes outcomes happen because of racism or bias of some kind, but sometimes bad outcomes happen because bad choices were made and the outcomes were not predicated on racism or bias. Idenitifying the differences between the two is complex and should be pursued with sensitivity, integrity and caution.
  • Successful heads are successful 360 degrees if they desire to constantly take risks through developing and improving their understanding of communities, organisations and pedagogy – they are humble servants to the profession and their communities first and last.
  • The flooding of the public sphere even moreso today, with  opinions and inaccurate information, has fuelled a seismic shift in influencing global politics - 
  • The voice of the retired community is more influential today than it has ever been
  • In the drive to be accepted, I believe we spend the majority of our time investing how our impression will influence others.
  • Black people tend to go to arts events or into careers if they see themselves represented by other blacks. Although complex to generalise, we tend not to swim, play tennis or ride bicycles for the same reason white British disadvantaged families don’t. The reason I feel blacks do not go into teaching is much more complex and difficult to generalise, hence why solutions are so difficult to identify and plan for.

Through any study I decide to undertake outcomes will provide both me and the reader a platform that may further influence change.

http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3893/1/Whitehead_LivingTheoryResearch.pdf  Theories are vehicles for explanation, prediction, explanatory theory explains events by setting forth propositions from which these events may be inferred, a predictive theory sets forth propositions from which inferences about future events may be made, and a theory of control describes the conditions under which events of a certain kind may be made to occur.

 

I want to contribute toward the knowledge base of all educators, specifically leaders who are often at the coalface of the political legislation, yet the implementation of their individual interpretation of that policy influences their communities often significantly more than any government intended.  

 

Major Events Timeline

  • 1966 Born in Wiltshire
  • Fostered for 5 months in and around Wiltshire
  • 1966 Arrived with foster parents that would never formally adopt me but would be known forever more as mum and dad. In family of 2 boys, 1 adopted and the other was my parents’ natural son, another boy would join 10 months later. Hence, I grew up in a family with 4 children; 3 brothers.
  • 1975 Became seriously ill and had nephrectomy, the disease which led to this surgery took approximately a year to be diagnosed and recover from.
  • 1981 Physical assault on me by secondary school teacher
  • 1982 Left school with no qualifications and went to local college; left with diplomas
  • 1984 Left Wiltshire home, met future husband who was recently divorced with 2 children (daughter and son) and moved to Bath
  • 1985 and 1987 had two sons
  • 1987 Visited Canada and USA – childhood dream come true and whetted appetite for more travel
  • 1991 Achieved black belt and over a period of 2-4 years was British, English and Welsh Champion of Tae Kwon Do across all 3 disciplines sparring, patterns and breaking wood
  • 1996 Achieved BSc and QTS – started work in primary school as a temporary teacher in Bristol
  • 1997 – started role as teacher in Wiltshire – hometown
  • 1999 Moved to Cambodia and left children (12 and 13 years old) at home with the intention they would arrive 4 months later with their dad
  • 2000 Returned to UK and took up temporary teaching post in BANES (Bath and North East Somerset)
  • 2000 Took on permanent teacher role in a different primary school in BANES
  • 2004 Started work as associate lecturer with the maths team at Bath Spa University as well as continuing class teaching in current school in Bath
  • 2004 Father passed away
  • 2005 Achieved first diploma equiv. in education
  • 2006 Moved to USA and became a Fulbright scholar 
  • 2007 Moved to London as deputy headteacher, retained home in Bath – first grandchild was born
  • 2010 Moved to Devon to take up interim headteacher post in small village school and achieved NPQH – National Professional Qualification of Headteachers – 2nd diploma equiv. was awarded for being a top 5% school and one of Devon’s most improved primary schools out of 500 schools
  • 2011 Moved back to Bath – took up first substantive headteacher post in a primary school in Bristol in special measures
  • 2011 Husband’s ex-wife and stepchildren’s mother passed away
  • 2013 Mother passed away
  • 2014 Was awarded by Bristol as an inspiring headteacher and school was judged as good by Ofsted; the first time in the school’s history
  • 2015 Took sabbatical and returned to executive headteacher post across 5 primary schools, including previous school where I was the headteacher – 2nd grandchild was born.
  • 2016 Brother passed away – achieved NPQEL – National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership - Executive Headteachers - 3rd diploma equiv.
  • 2017 Broke leg, was made redundant and moved back to London where I took up a temporary primary headteacher post across two schools in a Multi Academy Trust. The schools were at best RI when I arrived as they had an absent headteacher for a 6 month period. I secured their best set of data - attendance, staff and community satisfaction, KS1 and 2 SATs and Ofsted rating of good. 
  • 2018 Took a one term interim primary headteacher post in Nottingham - 3rd grandchild born
  • 2019 Took up a further 9-month sabbatical to reflect and seek future suitable role
  • 2019 Moved out of London and sold house
  • 2019 Moved to Bracknell to take up post as school improvement advisor with local authority
  • 2020 – I live in Bracknell and Bath. Have visited 37 countries. Although I love my job, I intend to retire in 2022 to travel more widely, study and learn. I have 2 stepchildren, 2 step grandchildren, 2 sons, 3 grandchildren and husband of 36 years, play tennis, ride my bike to work and swim regularly.

 

The context of my research based process

CONTEXT – School Leadership and Observations in Bristol

 

NB that when I refer to BME I refer to non-white descent and when I refer to black, I refer to people of black African or black Caribbean descent.    

Since 2017, I have witnessed 24 leaders leave their school leadership team in London and Bristol, me included. For 100% of us, it was not our decision, none wrote or signed a resignation letter without coercion from our governors or CEOs. The school leadership climate has been rapidly changing, chiefly owing to the government’s decision to improve upon their rankings in the OECD tables (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), a mechanism for measuring the success of implemented practices and policies, and the academisation programme. 33% of the 24 school leaders were BME. 24% of those that left, worked in Bristol for a period of 5 years or more in substantive senior school roles were of black heritage. Black or mixed black heritage make up approximately 7% of the UK’s population. Bristol now has 1 black headteacher and only 1% of its teaching or senior leading staff out of its 186 primary, special, independent and secondary schools.

https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=phase&region=801&geographic=la&phase=secondary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sZvPA6DCw4

 

[1] https://www.bristol.gov.uk/documents/20182/32947/State+of+Bristol+-+Key+Facts+2018-19.PDF

More recent data on school pupils shows that the %age of pupils who are not ‘White British’ has increased from 31% in  2011 to 38% in 2019. The percentage is even higher in Bristol’s primary schools.

 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/719226/Schools_Pupils_and_their_Characteristics_2018_Main_Text.pdf  In 2013 the number of white British pupils reported nationally was 76.4% and in 2019 it was 65.5%.

 

Between 2016 and 2017 Bristol had 7 substantive black school headteachers and school advisors and in 2020 it has one and none on its school improvement team; whose members would have normally sat on recruitment panels. 3 years later, out of those 24 school leaders that left their senior positions, only 2 remained in senior educational leadership roles with only one black, which is me. I was made redundant in 2017 and went on to successfully lead 3 different primary schools in interim roles. In September 2019 I took up a role as a school improvement advisor, advising and facilitating headteachers in Bracknell Forest, a local authority that has a typical profile for a fringe borough outside of London. Being mixed black I am firmly in the minority of school improvement partners or school leaders in the borough.  In my research led studies I want to explore why only two of the 24 who lost their leadership roles between 2017 and 2019 continued to be employed in senior school leadership roles today. I will also compare these with some who lost or left their roles, but did not have a hiatus in their career and were appointed into similar roles or promoted.

 

Being BME in England

As someone who was brought up with white parents, but had a white birth mother and black Caribbean father, I have never really had a strong sense of belonging to a race or culture, so this reality has given me the opportunity to invent myself. However, as mixed race, born in the 1960s, brought up in a county town in Wiltshire in care for 18 years, leaving school with no formal qualifications, having no family members, cousins, aunties, uncles, close family friends etc going to 6th form or university and later having 2 children by the age of 21, you would probably be forgiven for thinking that I was typical and easy to profile and hence predict my life outcomes. Yet I became a successful headteacher of 6 different primary schools and I am currently a school improvement advisor for a local authority.

 

To get to this position, it did not come without conflict and an occasional negating of my values of justice, love, ambition and compassion, which caused me at times much torment and turmoil. It also didn't come without the conviction and support of many around me. Undoubtedly the headlines, books, tweets and blogs that refer to social injustice towards BME distresses me on various levels, but I recognise that in order to react justly I do need to know the whole story. I own a whole story. My story and know the whole stories of the many BME friends, family and colleagues I have known for decades.  

 

Therefore, as an extraordinary person, I have insight into a world that is rarely experienced by others – call it a fantastic journey and it is my research led insight that may make the woke community further explore unexplored ideas. So, my question is ‘from the perspective of a mixed black Caribbean leader, how do I influence the motivations and capacity of future leaders in a climate of diverse school leadership models to meet the needs of an English contemporary society?’

 

I have a black daughter in law from Zimbabwe, who said that she never knew racism existed until she came to England in 2001. Since I became a conscious person – around 13 years old, I have lived with the effects of racism. The only black African country I have visited was South Africa and it is among the most unequal countries in the world, so not a good comparator for the UK to research thoroughly against. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/south-africa-unequal-country-poverty-legacy-apartheid-world-bank-a8288986.html

 

I will interrogate why there are few black teachers in England that don’t feel wholly marginalised. Why is it that I have become successful as a mixed black Caribbean leader? Why are there just 32 mixed black Caribbean headteachers in the 16.5 thousand primary schools in England, against a backdrop of mixed ethnicity being the largest BME community in primary schools in 2020? Why are the black Caribbean leader numbers in schools not significantly increasing over a period of a decade. Why are more BME colleagues leaving the profession quicker than any other ethnicity?

 

The NASUWT

A survey of members in 2017 showed that BME teachers felt isolated and unsupported by their managers when dealing with incidences of racism and career progression. Critically, 75 per cent of BME teachers were considering leaving the profession, compared with 64 per cent of white teachers.

 

‘People are starting to notice’ is not only the mantra for the recent film Joker, but also a 21st century one for minorities or those for a long time that have felt marginalised. With a voice that has been dormant, until recently, coupled with the birth of social media and easy to self-publish books or magazines, which are flooded with things the common man wants to vent about in the public sphere, it now feels the right time to share my living theories. Twitter, blogs and Instagram are beginning to replace the abject lyricist, playwright or poet, who were often part of a sub-culture which engineered a movement which sometimes led to positive change for those considered disadvantaged and to address the social injustice that they have identified. Previously unknown people are speaking their mind to an eager audience ready to prove popular sub cultured theories. Intersectionality, a term I have lived with for decades, has become a household word and pursuing equality is being turned into government and workplace policy with tangible accountabilities alongside them.

 

My own education, from nursery through to the continued professional development sessions I both deliver and attend will be drawn upon. From a young age, I understood the need to conform; read and mirror the expectations that were placed upon me. I also rebelled against some of these and continue to, but I sometimes recognise how popular discourse that does not align with my values or beliefs but are the mantra of the day have to sometimes be carefully listened to before actions take place.  A friend recently posted a quote on social media ‘a mistake that makes you humble is much better than an achievement that makes you arrogant.’  I responded that this is one of my biggest fears; that people feel I am arrogant if I discuss my achievement. If I challenge racism when I see it and I see it often and I don’t always challenge it, for the realisations of my fears being exposed, making me and other blacks even more vulnerable than we already are. These feeling possibly are borne from two things, one I was brought up a Christian, where being humble is preached and expected and being black, where as a child and adult I was and am often taught I was or I am not worthy of praise or recognition. I continue to observe black pupils experience this same internal and at times explicit conflict today.

https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/education-skills-and-training/11-to-16-years-old/gcse-results-attainment-8-for-children-aged-14-to-16-key-stage-4/latest#by-ethnicity

 

https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/workforce-and-business/workforce-diversity/school-teacher-workforce/latest#by-ethnicity

 

With government education data illustrating that there are few black teachers and leaders[ coupled with black  Caribbean or mixed black Caribbean pupils still underperforming in GCSEs and A levels compared to their white and Asian peers, this I believe must change, given that the attainment of 5 GCSEs at L5+ is considered a key indicator of the likelihood of that young person having positive opportunities open for them for life. So if I can begin to see how I can use my influence to engineer change, whether this is through curriculum change to promote ensure students feel less marginalised or changing the way the recruitment process to promote leadership to black leaders or how the induction process in schools or the local authority meets the needs of black children and adults, I can begin to see the value of this reserach led study. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXhGR5XVOXo

 

We Need to Know Suffering in Order to Know How to be Human

At 37 Minutes Professor Luckin quotes Yuval Noah Harari. sadly she uses black people to send that message. Again I reference that using black images to demonstrate struggle, poverty etc sublimely fuels the belief that black people do not have the capacity to be independent or leaders of the world.
This lecture considers the current reality of AI in education and its transformative potential.
Professor Luckin introduces what we mean by the term AI and how the development of increasingly smart technologies in the workplace and home requires us to change how and what we teach and learn. She explains how AI is already supporting the teaching and learning process, with speculation about the possible futures that AI might provide in order to help us tackle our greatest educational challenges.

https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/content.gresham.ac.uk/data/binary/3008/2019-04-09_RoseLuckin_AIandEducation-T.pdf

When we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create systems of change that are beneficial to all human beings and the environment - Joaquin Phoenix, 2020

JP's cut acceptance speech Oscars 2020

Are There Inequalities Faced by Blacks in the Teaching Profession? If so, who is the face of their plight?

Joaquin Phoenix as a successful white male actor I believe recognises his part to play in supporting black people to overcome the challenges they face. He recognises his privileges and opportunities he has benefited from in the film industry. However, despite he and his industry acknowledging the unequal opportunities on offer to black people in the in film industry, still the climate does not radically change. Still too few opportunities for black directors or black actors etc. are available. But let’s put this to one side. At least someone is speaking out for the plight of black people in the film industry. Who is promoting the plight of inequalities in education? Who is on the platform or speaking out for black educators? Who are the editors of popular education magazines like TES or Nursery World that actively and regularly promote the awareness of the inequalities in education for black pupils, staff and leaders? Whenever I see popular Twitter education bloggers rarely are they black. Who are the people speaking out for black educators? With 216,500 working in primary schools, 208,300 in secondary schools, 61,500 in independent schools and 16,700 work in special schools, who is standing up for the black man or woman? Other than Aisha Thomas in Bristol, there is no-one else I am aware of, and if there is, then they are not visible to me or others I know well.

 

Of the 27 interviews I attended between 2017 and 2019 only one of those had a black panel member; this was where I was offered a job.  There was no black panel member during the interview I have now with Bracknell Forest Council, but there is a company policy and integrity in practice, with a real commitment to inclusion and diversity across age, disability, race, gender and sexuality when appointing staff.

 

I recognise that finding or suggesting solutions is not simple, but I want to draw on why if black or mixed black teachers and leaders are pitted against what is it about my values, behavours,beliefs and experiences that resulted and continue to result in my success. Now in a new role, what values and charateristics do I hold and can develop to impact on the community I serve?

Previously as a headteacher or executive headteacher, I built the team around me that complemented my skillset, vision and charateristics, but equally I was appointed to run a school in an established community where children arrived, mostly because they had to - it is UK law to access education between the ages of 5-18. I didn't have to show love and compassion to anyone. As long as I kept within the professional conduct guidelines and the job specification, the job was mine for life. The role I have now is to provide a service, as school improvement adviser, that schools can purchase. They don't have to. If my service does not align with their needs, my service is obsolete.  Should my service become obsolete,  I risk the whole school improvement service becoming obsolete and the reputation being tarnished. Bracknell Forest Local Authority's primary schools are among the most successful in the country, (ranked 7th/151 for early years) and one of the reasons for this is, that despite the challenges the local authority and the leaders in the schools face, they, LA and leaders, align so closely in their vision and values. They have not defaulted to the academisation programme. Which as I have witnessed in Bristol, has fractured the relationships and accourtatbilities of both parties causing a seismic shift in pupil outcomes for the worse. Therefore, what will I change or hone regarding my values and behaviours to positively impact on the LA's capacity to deliver a first class school improvement service and reputation, leaders' capacity and pupils' outcomes? I have gone from aspiring to be a humble servant of my community (if my community did not align with my visiion and values we could easiy separate)  to proving that I am a humble servant of my community.  School leaders have to purchase my services and if I am not what they need or want, they don't purchase them. There are more risks involved in terms of the tenure of my role, school improvement service and reputation of the LA, but also in terms of plummeting of outcomes in service and schools, as I have witnessed in Bristol. 

 

What values and behaviours do others similar to me display that resulted in their demise or their success? It is a complex and sensitive subject that I can talk from experience about.  I will draw upon how cultural assimilation and societal privileges have interrupted the equality of opportunities to black and mixed black adults and pupils living in England, but also share and shine light upon how I too have been pitted against, yet have benefitted from a successful career and opportunities. Delving deeper into this research led process will enable me to learn from the perspective of a mixed black Caribbean leader, how I can influence the motivations and capacity of future leaders in a climate of diverse school leadership models to meet the needs of an English contemporary society.

 

What kind of data will I gather to show the situation as it unfolds?

  • Education data
  • Data from research groups
  • I have over 1800 LinkedIn contacts, many of which are BME
  • At this moment I do intend to travel to Ghana and Zimbabwe to gather insight into culture, history and racism in the 21st century, but not until 2021/2, probably after I retire.
  • Videos and transcripts from interviews with BME and white british leaders that I have worked with and some that are known by other means; I have over 1800 connections on LinkedIn and most are BME
  • I can draw on data and the fact that I have also been part of a longitudal study on BME leaders since 2015, and was most recently interviewed for the 3rd time in 2020
  • I will make every effort to diversify the authors and publications I read and reference to determine that my research …
  • I will also use books, novels, paintings, poems, YouTube uploads and news to help present and evolve theories
  • 2021 census data will provide an exciting information about the shift in populations and will demonstrate how policy coupled with people’s opportunities and choices have led to potentially a seismic shift in people’s habits.

 

Representation Matters - Bristol Assistant Headteacher Campaigns for a clear and supportive policy that increaase the number of black teachers

"Until society represents everyone, the question will always be 'where do I belong?' " Aisha Thomas's TEDx talk challenges us to imagine a world where all races are represented in all aspects of life. Where children grow up with a sense of value, connection and understanding of difference.

Her commitment to inspiring young minds was kick-started a decade ago during a mentoring meeting with a young offender in prison. He said to Aisha, "If you were my teacher, maybe I wouldn’t be in prison today." Then a law graduate, Aisha decided to retrain as an educator and dedicate her life to improving the lives of children in her community. She’s currently Assistant Principal at City Academy in Bristol, and one of only 26 out of 1346 secondary school teachers in the city.

An inspiring Jo Delahunty, who campaigns for equality for all in the law profession - but where are these campaigners for promoting diversity in the education?profession?

A Gresham lecture that Delahunty gave in November 2017 was one of the first public identifications of the exodus of experienced women from the self-employed Bar - and gave a call for action. That loss affects the number of women who take Silk and that, in turn, drains the pool from which judges are largely drawn. In 2018 the Bar Council and Specialist Bar Associations acknowledged the issue and a “Retention of Women at the Bar’ survey was launched. It’s time to look at the results and test how the legal profession has responded to the challenge.

https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/content.gresham.ac.uk/data/binary/3187/2019-11-28_Delahunty_100YearsWomen-T.pdf

Concepts to Explore

‘From the perspective of a mixed black Caribbean leader, how do I influence the motivations and capacity of future leaders in a climate of diverse school leadership models to meet the needs of an English contemporary society?’

 

What values and behaviours do successful black leaders hold and develop that help them to thrive, despite the unique challenges they face?

 

Why is it that I have become successful as a mixed black Caribbean leader? 

 

Why are there just 32 mixed black Caribbean headteachers in the 16.5 thousand primary schools in England, against a backdrop of mixed ethnicity being the largest BME community in primary schools in 2020?

 

Why are the black Caribbean leader numbers in schools not significantly increasing over a period of a decade.

 

Why are more BME colleagues leaving the profession quicker than any other ethnicity?

What will I change or hone regarding my values and behaviours to positively impact on the LA's capacity to deliver a first class school improvement service and reputation, leaders' capacity and pupils' outcomes? I have gone from aspiring to be a humble servant of my community (if my community did not align with my visiion and values we could easiy separate)  to proving that I am a humble servant of my community. School leaders have to purchase my services and if I am not what they need or want, they don't purchase them. There are more risks involved in terms of the tenure of my role, school improvement service and reputation of the LA, but also in terms of plummeting of outcomes in service and schools, as we have witnessed in Bristol. 

Who is promoting the plight of inequalities in education?

 

Who is on the platform or speaking out for black educators, who are the editors of popular education magazines like TES or Nursery World, whenever I see popular Twitter education bloggers rarely are they black, who are the people speaking out for black educators?

 

What values and behaviours do others similar to me display that resulted in their demise or their success?

 

Professions or organisations that buck the trend in recruiting people from black heritage, what values do they promote and develop?

 

Can I be racist toward another black person?  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/27/trevor-phillips-political-correctness-racism-prejudice 

 

Can you be too positive and love too much?

It is racist, but it's difficult to call out

Alex Beresford is back in the studio and he was ready to challenge Piers on the racism row that has surrounded the media's portrayal of Meghan Markle. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are currently in Canada, where they will be spending half of their time, now they have announced they will be stepping back as senior royals. Ranvir Singh also spoke of her own experiences and what she thinks of the royal couple.

Is it Racism?

A Story

Prior to 2017, I was offered every job I applied for. After being made redundant in 2017, I applied for many jobs and attended 27 interviews. I can talk from experience about what has shifted in the school leadership climate. I experience racism frequently; it is often subtle, and it is difficult to call out.

Like observing an outstanding lesson, there is no real definition of what that is or what an outstanding teacher looks like, you just know it when you see it! When you are experiencing 'subtle racism', it doesn't fit the obvious definition, you just know it when you feel it  'ergo, 27 interviews and no job offers for roles I was well qualified to undertake'. I have seen many outstanding lessons in my role as school leader and I have 'felt' and experienced racism many times as a mixed black person. 

https://engage-education.com/blog/what-makes-an-outstanding-lesson/ 

The OFSTED definition of outstanding enthusiasm

Any OFSTED inspector will tell you that there is no exact recipe for an outstanding lesson; they simply know one when they see it. The one vital ingredient is enthusiasm – from both from pupils and from teachers – whose body language speaks volumes about how engaged they are.

Usually the person who is investigating the allegation of racism is white British and has limited, if no, experience of handling an allegation of racism and therefore often is seen by the victim as querying it or you unnecessarily. This experience only needs to happen once for you to be left feeling humiliated and worthless and not ever wanting to feel like this again, so you never again make the allegation.

 

A Story May 2019

Co-op Elmers End, London. I was dressed ready to play tennis and had nowhere to conceal any items, as I entered the Co-Op. I went in search of offers on food and drink, as we were entertaining that weekend. I walked around the store and didn’t find anything I wanted. As I went to leave the till person, black and female, nodded to the security guard who then tackled me roughly, I would use the term attack. The behaviour of the man took me off guard and when I looked at the till person, she said he wasn’t meant to do that, despite that clearly being her instruction to him.  He obviously thought, as did I, that the till person thought I had stolen something. I was shocked and relayed the story to my tennis coach. I later contacted Coop to submit a formal complaint. I believed I had been profiled as a thief by another black person and wrongly profiled. Is this racism? I believe it is – if you are wrongly profiled by another because of the colour of your skin and they are in a position of power over you and they use that power to ‘unnecessarily attack you’, this is racism in my opinion. Can I be racist toward another black person? As someone who was brought up in a mainly white community with white parents, I believe I can. Regardless of what we call it here, being profiled because of the colour of my skin by someone who is in a position of power over me, happens too often. I could diarise weekly events. On this occasion after reporting it, I had to follow it up several times to different agents working for the Co-Op, but to no avail. I was signposted from department to department, where I had to relay the story several times and I was disbelieved and fobbed off. Until the 28-day CCTV window had passed and there was no evidence to speak of and I was in no longer in a position to challenge the allegation, did I wholly despair at this process and lose faith in people to listen to my voice. It wasn’t until I was crying while on the phone that I was believed, and the incident investigated. The investigation in the store found no eyewitnesses, and no-one knew or remembered anything about it. This experience only needs to happen once for you to be left feeling humiliated and worthless and not ever wanting to feel like this again, you never again want to make the allegation.

 

A Story 2015

I feel uncomfortable being a pioneer, I mainly like to blend in, be wholly accepted for my character and skills, but when I am often the only black person round the table debating an issue or living in that community or attending that lecture or observing the discourse being presented by white professionals, I feel compelled to present an alternative point of view often a personal one that others have yet to notice, a point of view from the BME perspective. This often comes with a health warning. We were led to believe that women used to enjoy being passive. So when they recognised inequality and campaigned against it they were heckled by many, stared at  or put in jail for their campaigning or beliefs. That isn’t something I want and it probably won’t happen to me but, I could lose my job or my reputation becomes unintentionally tainted.   I question whether I said too much or didn’t say enough. Rarely do white peers wholly understand what I am talking about as they often have little point of reference. As I speak up, it’s not always race related, but often as I gain confidence and feel trust from the audience, my responses are likely to turn to race or heritage inequality. In 2015 I made the decision to leave Bath. I embrace and thrive on change. I scoured the country, specifically the south west and South Wales and we settled on Chepstow for many reasons. We spent a weekend there and loved the opportunities. However, for that whole weekend I never saw another black person. I decided to stay in Bath. I don’t like being a pioneer, I mainly like to blend in. I couldn’t live with that health warning on my back again.

 

A Story October 2019

I attended a training session delivered by Mary Myatt, a trending educationalist who is putting sensible and practical rhetoric at the heart of the school curriculum debate. Throughout her 2-hour presentation she promoted many authors, texts, resources and professionals and their best practices. It was on many levels inspiring, however, none of the referenced texts or resources related to black heritage and she promoted no black professional or children’s authors. More worryingly for me, the only time black people were reference was when she started discussing having high expectations of your pupils and she used a case study of a black boy who had complex special educational needs. This in my world stereotypes black children and subliminally confirms to the audience that black people are more likely to have special needs and fuels the IQ debate. It takes me straight back to my secondary classroom, where a belief of blacks being ‘difficult and of low intelligence’ was forced upon me daily.  

 

A Story September 2016

Whilst at a prize giving award at Colston’s Girls School, girls were awarded for a range of characteristics and achievements. With 60% of its pupils BME, it was of a surprise to me that the black girls were awarded prizes only for physical achievements. Both the head and deputy head girls were white, and all other prizes were awarded to white girls. In 2016 100% of CGS’s teaching and support staff, admin and leaders were white.  

 

A Story 2007-2019

In 2007, after my move to London, a friend from the south west had won an award in a TES category and she invited me to accompany her. I went along. I was shocked to see no black nominees or winners. In 2019, the climate has not shifted at all. There are still no black individuals taking to the platform to collect an individual annual award in TES or Nursery World. David Carter, who has great prestige in the education world and used to be the national commissioner for education until 2018, is relatively prolific on Twitter and often promotes the positive face of education. However, from the twitter feeds of his that I have read even he always promotes or references only white leaders, and on International Women’s day he promotes only white women. This I attribute to his unconscious bias. If I point this out to him, I imagine he will consider his BME communities, he may not always promote us, but I know he will promote BME communities more. He is very influential. But why should I feel the need to point this out to him?

 

A Story 2015-2020

In 2015 as part of my NPQEL, I visited a range of what was considered exemplary and high functioning, acording to government data sets, multi academy trusts. One school was South Bank a new secondary school judged as outstanding by Ofsted and part of the Multi Academy Trust (MAT) Oasis Community Learning https://www.oasiscommunitylearning.org/. 100% of the pupils I saw were BME with a large proportion being black. Yet the only black staff I saw was the janitor. I explored the reason for this with the CEO, John Murphy, and asked what his plan or the plan of the MAT was to employ black principals now and in the future. He said he had to admit that he didn’t have one. 4 years later the MAT had grown to 48 schools and still had no black principals. I do believe I provoked the thought in John that he needed black leaders given that his schools were in communities which served mainly BME pupils, Bristol, London and Midlands. The MAT launched a seminar in February 2019 delivered by OCL’s white leaders on the subject of Where are our BAME Leaders? https://www.oasiscommunitylearning.org/news-media/the-circle-ocl-blog/blog-post-details/~board/the-circle/post/where-are-our-bame-leaders-in-education 5 years later the MAT has grown to 52 still has no black principals. I have no doubt that other than me black principals have applied to Oasis schools for the principal role, but have not been appointed. Where are your BAME leaders OASIS? I believe in part it is because the MAT now has a reputation for not appointing black principals, so people don’t apply. I feel uncomfortable being a pioneer, I mainly like to blend in, be wholly accepted for my character and skills – I wouldn’t want to be the only black person sat around the table at an OASIS conference for principals. This experience only needs to happen once for you to be left feeling humiliated and worthless and not ever wanting to feel like this again, you never again want to apply again. https://schoolsweek.co.uk/children-need-to-see-more-ethnically-diverse-school-leaders/

Let's call it for what it is - it's racism

I agree with the majority of panel members - 'twas a good debate between the panellists. Here I used my iPhone to record and upload the images - it was an enlightening moment for me in many ways

A Lack of Black Teachers

The lack of black teachers in Bristol has been described as "shocking" and "terrible".
A BBC Inside Out West investigation has found there are 26 working in Bristol's secondary schools, out of more than 1,300 teachers, which equates to just 1.9% of teachers currently employed in the city.
One teacher, Aisha Thomas, assistant principal at City Academy, asked her white boss if he was the right person to be leading the multi-racial school.