Review by Raj Unsworth

Chair of governors in Bradford

20 Jun 2020, 5:00


Raj Unsworth’s top edu blogs of the week, 15 June 2020

Our guest blog reviewer foregrounds the voices of educators trying to make sense of racism, highlights attempts to heal divisions in early years and listens to one woman’s experience of being a CEO


Why 1963?


Recent events have distressed many of us, but out of the horror a growing chorus of BAME educators are offering honest, heartfelt reflections on how we can do better to tackle inequalities – none more so than maths teacher Arv Kaushal.

This post on the #BAMEintoleadership blog resonated at a hugely personal level, as my father too arrived alone in the UK from Punjab in 1963. Kaushal’s mother is the spitting image of my own and shared the same passions. This tribute to a generation who uprooted their lives to respond to a call from the UK is a must-read. Centred on Kaushal’s father, a teacher and son of a teacher, it explores how they did what was necessary to build a future for their families.

Kaushal’s father did not make it back to the classroom after moving here, but he never stopped being a teacher. The blog ends with a reflection on the ongoing fight for a more inclusive society. It suggests we should ask ourselves whether our policies or decisions are fair, not whether we have “double-checked we have covered our backs”. No more tick-box exercises please.


Is there internal conflict within the EYs sector?


Early years is often seen as the poor cousin in education, often patronised and misunderstood on social media. This slightly longer read has been an education for me. Understanding EY’s complexities through this honest reflection of the issues it faces is crucial to all parties working to effect change. Getting early years right is crucial as it is the foundation for the rest. As Dr Valerie Daniel says: “Let’s do something about it.”


Deeds, not words – parts 1 and 2


Nick Dennis has written two highly recommended blogs for everyone in education, but especially school/academy leaders, governors and trustees. They offer excellent questions for us to reflect on, and suggestions for how we can do better and evaluate whether the policies we implement work for those they are designed to serve. Among so much theoretical exploration of structural racism, I love the practical nature of these posts. I have no doubt they will be of use to all who read them.


Addressing equality and diversity collaboratively in schools


Reah Banton is a new voice for me and I already want to hear more from her. Her well-balanced, reasoned take speaks for many of us, including white colleagues who will recognise this: “Silence is a major issue. The ability to speak openly and freely is heavily tainted with fear and judgment.” This could just as easily be about a number of issues pertaining to school cultures, as about racism and equality. As school leaders, we should be ensuring the cultures, values and ethos of our organisations support open, honest dialogue between all stakeholders.


Doing nothing is not an option


This powerful blog is from a white ally who has decided it is time to speak up. While Richard Holme writes from the perspective of higher education – specifically universities “where senior leaders are heavily over-represented by the male, stale, pale brigade” – his blog is just as relevant to school and academy leaders. But it is about more than an easy calling-out of evident inequality. It is about Holme accepting his journey is just at the start.


B®ick in the wall


Paul and Greg’s weekly podcast is a definite positive to come out of lockdown. Their interview with Claire Cuthbert on her journey as a chief executive will be of interest to women aspiring to CEOship. Listen to the hysterical confession at the end. You won’t be disappointed.

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