So Coronation Street aims to increase diversity of Black and Asian characters and writers… and about time too! This is great news for young aspiring writers and actors from underrepresented groups. The importance of Black Global Majority role models on television is paramount. I hope when the time comes the storylines are relevant and present Black and Asian people in a different light rather than the negative stereotypical roles we are use to seeing on TV .
Once upon a time I had a regular role on Coronation Street’s ‘Nicks Bistro’ as a supporting actor. During 2010-2013 there were only a few Black and Asian Crew members and cast. As a supporting artist, I was the one of a few black male representation on the show – even though I only a muttered a few words from time to time. (See my 15 mins of fame below, blink you will miss it!)
Fast forward to 2017, there is more of a diverse representation on the cobbles which is progressive. With 17% of the cast being Black Asian origin.
Producer Kate Oates also wants to recruit writers from a wider range of ethnic backgrounds to tell their stories. Recognising that the show would benefit from greater diversity to appeal to it’s vast audience;
“And we need more black and Asian writers, to bring out the truth of those voices. It’s important to keep the show strong and relevant.” Source radio times
Before starting my masters in educational leadership and enrolling on the BME leadership development programme, I have never heard of or met Black Headteacher/Principle. Within the school environment, black staff are typically represented in non-teaching roles such as; classroom assistance, pastoral staff, lunch time supervisors and cleaners. This was the spark to dig deeper into the rabbit hole and research into the under-representation of Black senior leaders in Education. Click here to read report.
There are currently 21.356 headteachers in England, however, only 277 are black. The statistics present a major concern; the ratio of Black and global majority (BGM) leaders to BGM students is disproportionate compared to that of their White counterparts. On a positive note, Black headteachers do exist and are flying the flag and contributing towards changing the narrative of the Black and Global Majority representation in education. They are living proof that the concrete ceiling can be broken and have laid the foundation for the future generation of BGM majority teachers. Here are some of the BGM practitioners identified as senior leaders in England. Please feel free to add to the list;
Representation Matters. Using a range of examples of Black and Global Majority (BGM) role models across all of the subjects taught in schools will contribute towards changing the narrative of cultural stereotypes in education. BGM role models should be used all year round, not just during Black history month or a themed cultural activity! This will ultimately promote positive stereotypes and provide options of alternative professional career paths that will contribute towards breaking the concrete ceiling for the future generation. BGM representation could be used in every subject in the curriculum. For example;
Science: George Washington Carver. Scientist and inventor of an automobile that as more sophisticated than Henry Ford’s model T
Scientist / Inventor Design and Technology: Garrett Morgan. Inventor of the traffic lights and gas mask
Business Studies: The Black Wall Street (Greenwood, Tulsa) one of the most prominent concentrations of African-American businesses in the United States during the early 20th century
IT / Computing: Jerry Lawson, Inventor of the modern day console
Art: Jean-Michel Basquiat. Artist and responsible for the most expensive painting sold $110 million
English: Maya Angelou
Mathematics: Katherine Johnson Mathematics was responsible for putting the first people on the moon
Keep checking the website the summer for SoW for a range of subjects.
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