Review by Penny Rabiger

Associate, Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality, Leeds Beckett University

17 Sep 2022, 5:00


The Conversation – with Penny Rabiger

Where to begin

We have a new prime minister, and new education secretary, there’s a six-month government support scheme in order to combat upcoming energy cost increases, and the Schools Bill is experiencing further delays as it moves through Parliament.

Amid the turmoil. where better to start the term than letting the Haringey Education Partnership (HEP) podcast summarise what is on the agenda this week for schools. As well as making sense of it all, they’ll also give you some recommendations of things to watch, listen to and read that are connected to hot topics in education right now.

A critical lens

And if you’re looking for a more critical perspective on events to prepare to talk to students and staff about it all, then the Democracy Now YouTube channel – an independent global news hour that airs on over 1,500 TV and radio stations globally – could be just the thing. This week’s episode is a roundtable entitled ‘Amid Tributes to Queen Elizabeth, Deadly Legacy of British Colonialism Cannot Be Ignored’.

As the country’s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth’s death has set off a period of national mourning. As the monarch who presided over the end of the British Empire, her legacy – and King Charles’ ascent to the throne – have also raised important questions about the future of the monarchy. This episode features four knowledgeable and challenging scholars, activists and commentators, who ground their views on in-depth analysis of history, power and politics in the UK. Well worth a listen for a more rounded view of current affairs.

Breaking the silence

Meanwhile, the police shooting last week of unarmed musician and father-to-be, Chris Kaba, should see us all vigorously renewing our vows as educators to tackle structural and institutional racism with as much vigour as we did in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd. The silence from schools on this matter so far, however, is noticeable.

For those who need a refresher on the bitter history of the production and reproduction of racism in our schools, the new episode of the Centre for Education and Youth podcast offers exactly that. The hour-long conversation with legendary campaigner for racial justice and equality in education, Professor Gus John – one of the most authoritative voices in the country on the history of racism in the English schooling system – is a timely reminder that unless we make it our business to consistently disrupt racism, it will not just be our past, but our future too.

What next?

Last term’s NFER report on racial equality in the teacher workforce may have been shocking news to some, but old news to others who have been pointing out the issues for years. Regardless, it’s clear where leadership efforts might be targeted. Aimed at the charity sector, but just as relevant to trusts and governing bodies, the practical guide to recruiting Black and Asian trustees produced by Action for Trustee Racial Diversity could prove useful.

The advice, case studies and quotes in From here to diversity provide learning and support as well as stimulating discussions for your diversity and inclusion events and training. And to take the conversation further, you can also sign up for their online event on 29 September to learn from first-time and aspiring Black and Asian trustees. 

Where to begin (again)

As a trustee and founding member of the grassroots race equity charity, The BAMEed Network, I will of course declare an interest here. However, it would be remiss of me not to draw attention to the new resources we’ve published as part of refreshing our website, including putting all of our recorded events in one place.

If you’re looking for someone to speak at an event (or if you would like to put yourself forward), then make your way to our Speakers page. There’s also a page for coaches and coachees, an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion providers’ directory, and a mass of regularly updated resources, all freely available and curated from a breadth of sources.

It’s another turbulent start to the school year, and that’s all the more reason to pull together and stay focused as educators – with great power comes great responsibility.

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