Utter disbelief! Racism and inequality in education has always been a underlying problem, however, its been a long time since I have witnessed an example as blatant as this.Instances like this are a justification for my research and dedication towards leading equality and diversity in education.
I will go as far to say that the Rochester Grammar School’s ‘Slave auction task’ are the actions of practitioners with racist ideals pushing the boundaries of education. This may be through unconscious or conscious biases that need to be addressed to ensure that racism is repudiated within education.
It is imperative that equality and diversity training should be mandatory for staff and pupils to continue to educate those who lack basic common sense. Especially in the above circumstance!! Instances like this should be brought to the forefront and not be swept under the carpet like its ‘no big issue’.
The test highlights your personal biases relating to issues such as gender, religion, race, skin colour etc. It is a good introduction for a whole school staff training to discuss issues relating to biases relating to discrimination in education. However, schools are at risk of using the tests as ‘edu-tainment’ – a standalone strategy to justify equality training within a school to adhere to guidelines set by the government.
What could we start doing to ensure that equality and diversity is embedded in your schools policies and processes?
Leading Equality has designed an audit that specifically focused on issues relating to Diversity and equality within a school. The audit tool monitors areas such as;
Data of staff and student representation
How the school identifies opportunities to celebrate diversity
The schools approach to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying
The audit template will be available for download from the 28.07.17
BAME is the latest terminology used to summarize ethnic groups in England. The main characteristic that people associated to the BAME group have in common, is that they are non-white British within the UK.
Aspinal’s (2002) work on collective terminology is complemented by Richardson (2006). using the label ‘BAME’ could present limitations as the term Minority has connotations of inferiority, whilst the majority, being white people, belong to a single dominant group. Whilst the use of Black and Asian does not imply that the two ethnic groups belong to a minority.
Ethnic grouping does not cater for the individual needs of different ethnic backgrounds. For example, issues of islamophobiais typically directed at Muslims commonly from an Eastern Asian origin may not apply to other ethnic groups within the BAME group. Therefore, issues need to be addressed independently rather than being placed in ‘ethnic groups’ as it fails to cater for particular needs of individual ethnic groups.
An example of good practice for encouraging diversity exists at the University of Manchester (University of Manchester, 2016), during the recruitment process they use an Implicit Association Test Beattie (2012), which measures unconscious attitudes to create a fairer employment procedure. A similar system in the secondary education recruitment process would be beneficial to promote quality and diversity. Similarly, the government funded charity, Teach First (2015), has restricted the occurrence of unconscious bias within their own recruitment. Through the ‘Name Blind’ process, a cohort of BAME trainee teachers has increased to 15%. This is evidence that similar ‘nameless’ systems should be considered as policy across the UK workforce as it promotes diversity and reduces discrimination.
Interested in Unconscious Bias? Sign up to the upcoming ‘beyond unconscious bias’ event.
Seminar of the Critical Discourses in the Academy seminar series on 7th June, 2017 (4-6pm). We will be looking at Intersectionality and the need to theorize Race, Gender, Sexuality and Religion together! The seminar will be held in Room AG3/4, Ellen Wilkinson Building, University of Manchester. Further details are in the poster below.
In general, Black males from an afro Caribbean heritage still underperform in school compared their white counterparts. This along with a rigid ‘Anglo-centric’ curriculum and the news of less world history being included within the curriculum has led to a culture of underachievement and low self-esteem.
In 1966, the England’s first Saturday Supplementary School for black students in Manchester by Nama Bonsu as support for black children to survive in a mainstream school. Supplementary schools are still active across England, dedicated to raise aspirations, attainment and self-worth..
These supplementary schools are also known as ‘Saturday schools’ as they normally take place on a Saturday. Saturday schools provided Black youths fundamental black history lessons. Core EBAC subjects such as Mathematics and English are also taught to raise achievement and close the attainment gap.
As a youth I attended a Saturday supplementary school and I believe that it was a fundamental support structure for the community. There is still a need for Black supplementary schools to reinforce positive self-image self-confidence and to meet various challenges in mainstream education
The ‘Ragged Schools’ were developed in working class areas in Victorian Britain and was the start of free comprehensive schooling. These schools were set up for the poorest families in contrast to the private schools set for the wealthy . Subsequently, reinforcing social class and division.
The government have invested £50 million of funding to support the expansion of grammar schools to support the gifted and the talented. is the country at risk of repeating the cycle of social segregation and elitism?
Interesting read. This also supports the importance of positive role models in education. Is there a need for positive discrimination, as suggested by Sir Michael Gove (mentioned in the previous articles), to fast track BAME practitioners into senior leadership positions? Or does positive discrimination have too much of a negative impact, solely benefiting individuals?