October is Black History month and during assemblies at Oasis Academy Media City, we have been focusing on the theme of ‘Modern Greats’ trailblazers making an impact by breaking the glass ceiling for future generations.
Guest speakers from the North west, including Kemoy Walker MBE, Cristina Taylor CEO of AIM SKY HIGH (ASH)
Workshops focused on Heritage, culture and identity to run throughout the academic year with the Race Trust
The talks from black students in HE/aspirational careers are back on this year through GM Higher. The project aims to bring together current University of Manchester Black students and Black school pupils to critically reflect and share their lived experiences as a Black student gmhigher.ac.uk/events/black-history-trail
With Insight, a course through Christine Kinnear’s ‘With Insight’, that will help students successfully apply to the UK’s leading Universities. Mentored by Black heritage University students they’ll visit Manchester University campus, and get a taste for what they could be working towards.
We will continue to proactively build a school experience and curriculum that supports all children and young people to become people of good character who are active and inclusive. In addition, we will ensure that within our curriculum we are focused on postive representation from Black and Global Majority backgrounds and auditing our current curriculum to ensure that it is not creating or sustaining a culture that stems from colonialism or systems of oppression. See Curriculum update and Anti-racist Audit
I have included some generic slides that I have used for assemblies this year. Feel free to use, modify and share.
This academic year, we have introduced an Anti-Racist approach at Oasis Academy Media City UK, focusing on; The Curriculum, Staff Training and CPD, Student Education, Community, and Leadership and Management. We simply could not have made the impact that we have had in this short time without these fantastic community partners.
Wisdom Against Racism
These sessions are focused on empowering our students and challenging and disarming racism to succeed in their education, careers, and personal lives. The interventions were designed to provide a platform for kids of colour to have a safe space to discuss topics relating to race as well as including islamophobia, identity, and culture.
Recent sessions were focused on the current conflict in Palestine, providing a platform for our students to discuss issues through the lens of at it from the Israeli and Palestinian perspective with the aim of strengthening community cohesion.
The aim of this professional development programme is to support young 1st and 2nd generation migrants as well as all disadvantaged youths and to help them succeed in Britain. The programme is free and applicants are between 16 and 25 years old and they gain mentoring, workshops, work experiences and connections. Migrant Leaders now has senior mentors from more than 95 FTSE100 and leading firms.
Foresight in conjunction with The University of Manchester
Next academic term we have scheduled online sessions focused on empowering black-heritage students with the confidence, knowledge, and ability to successfully apply to the UK’s leading universities as a gateway to a more prosperous future. A special thanks to Catherine Millan for her continued support over the last five years.
FBB supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are passionate about football but disengaged at school, in order to help them finish school with the skills and grades to make a successful transition into adulthood. We do this by providing long-term, intensive support, built around relationships and young people’s passions, in the classroom and beyond.
Anne Frank Trust
Using Anne Frank’s life and diary as a starting point, we empower young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to challenge all forms of prejudice and discrimination. In doing so, we partner with schools, local authorities, the criminal justice sector and others to deliver educational programmes alongside acclaimed exhibitions to young people in a variety of settings.
Odd Arts specialise in delivering theatre-based programmes that challenge and change attitudes and behaviours. In our case, improving community cohesion. They work with participants to devise theatre, from their own experiences as well as touring professional interactive theatre performances on challenging topics. This is all underpinned by: Restorative Approaches; Non-Violent Communication and Trauma Informed Approaches.
We have signed up to the Anti-Racist School Award is an assessment tool to evaluate current practices and initiatives within your school. It enables evaluation of the overall anti-racism support and strategies that exist within your school, whilst also helping to give structure to the development plan for any improvements.
We have recently signed up to a 7 week online course that give access to a range of national speakers on specific subjects such as protected characteristics, Antisemitism, Islamophobia and Gipsy Roma Travellers.
The National Curriculum is framed in an Anglo centric perspective, where victors and ‘pioneers’ have written the history and defined the narrative in all subjects. Consequently, this has resulted in the ‘racial erasure’, such as the whitewashing of atrocity and the elimination of non-white contributors within the curriculum. It is essential for schools to modernise the curriculum to reflect the global population of the school, this will eventually develop an inclusive ethos of learners understanding a range of different cultures in preparation of becoming Global Citizens.
Anti-Racist Curriculum Audit – History
We aim to implement an anti-racist and anti-oppressive approach by reviewing and implementing changes in our curriculum, through the lens of our Black and Global Majority student population. We were inspired by the NEU anti-racist framework https://neu.org.uk/media/11236/view which was used to ensure that the curriculum has broad and balanced representation.
For example, this Scheme of Learning developed by the History curriculum leader @msmarshhistory1 to ensure that there is;
Increasing representation of events and individuals who are the ‘Global Majority
Move away from solely focusing on the history of white, Western Europeans with political power
Representation is not merely one of ‘historical oppression’ but diverse in its specific historic enquiry, highlighting role models
The work of social historians is at the forefront of more historical inquiries
The intersection between different characteristics e.g. class is recognised whilst acknowledging there is no hierarchy of oppression
Recognition that changing the content of the curriculum is not enough, staff must be racially literate in order to effectively deliver this curriculum in an anti-racist way.
I am absolutely delighted to be launching the new book “With Women” with our students at OAMUK during independent reading.
This book was created with midwives of Black and Asian heritage from Manchester and a group of local school pupils and @universityofmanchester students to increase numbers of student midwives from Black and Asian heritage to come into the profession.
Many women in the UK that are from Black and Asian backgrounds have needs that are culturally specific when they give birth. Research has shown that midwives from a similar heritage to women they care for can improve their experience in hospital, and have a safer birth.
Noting that low numbers of student midwives are of Black and Asian heritage, this project involves promoting midwifery as a career to young people of colour.
The book is about the journey Manchester midwives have taken to become a midwife describing their background, education and current role
An electric version of the book is FREE TO DOWNLOAD from a link in the article below and I have a number of hard copies that will be distributed to schools and community groups in the next few weeks. IF YOU ARE A TEACHER OR WORK WITH GROUPS OF YOUNG PEOPLE please get in touch and I will send you out a hard copy before they all go!
Following the feedback from our staff anti-racism training, we have produced a ‘racism interrupters’ help script laminated into cards to fit into staff lanyards along with a ‘restorative conversations’ help script. The aim is to encourage and develop the confidence of staff to address any concerns relating to racism, in particular, suspected micro-aggressions within the classroom. Download an editable version below.
Excited to work with the University of Manchester PHD History students and Graduates in partnership with Heritage Schools to support the development of Local Black History Resources for schools with the aim of promoting Black positive histories, local Black role models and stories of success. Students will research local Black history and will present the material to teachers to turn into lesson plans and resources that can be integrated into the curriculum. The materials produced by students will then become a resource for the Heritage schools to pass on to schools across Greater Manchester. Materials will also be highlighted on the University of Manchester Hidden History resource page for teachers prompting the work of the heritage fund.
The University of Manchester PhD students have a range of specialist expertise including Migration urban regeneration, multiculturalism, Black Britons in the Industrial North, Oral histories of Black Pioneers and Trailblazers in Manchester. Working with our teachers, various resources including the scheme of learning, lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations will be developed at the end of the 2021 academic year.
Following the Oasis Community Learning, Break The Cycle conferences earlier this year (see Session 1 and Session 2), saw the launch of an aspirational plan with the aim of implementing an anti-racist approach at Oasis Academy Media City, focusing on decolonising the structures in education through; Curriculum Reviews, Staff Training and CPD, Student Education, Community, and Leadership and Management.
It has been a challenging start to the school year, due to Covid-19 and limited-time capacity to facilitate the project, where the majority of the work was completed outside of the school hours. Despite this, I’m proud to report that significant milestones have been achieved in the first term;
Curriculum Review and Adaptation
Review curriculum areas to ensure they have contributions from Black and Global Majority contributors.
Audit the cultural diversity of each Programme Of Study (POS)– each POS representative of different cultures across the five years of study.
Audit the teaching and learning through an anti-racist leans using the NEU anti-racist framework
Review and adapt the PSHE curriculum based on the feedback from students
Review the subject areas to ensure that they have career paths that are inclusive for BGM students.
List of industry professionals , coaches and mentors that could be used for interventions through the race trust (launch term 2)
Introduction to Black and Global History, in conjunction with the University of Manchester and the Heritage fund. UOM will find local trailblazers for core subjects (Maths, English and Science) with the aim of including these within the lessons. https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/hub/107833/news?page=9
Anti-Racist training in conjunction with local Grass root organisations that focuses on Anti-Racism to provide a framework for PSHE lessons
Opportunity to discuss issues relating to race, politics, culture, and identity with teaching staff chairing the conversations, addressing any misconceptions
Dropdown days consisting of Anti-Racist workshops timetabled throughout the academic year
Ensure that all cultural events are included in the calendar- for example refugee week, Diwali, Eid, Chinese New Year, Wind rush day etc. Robust plan for Black History Month. Use the OCL equality and diversity calendar as a framework for upcoming events.
Visual and communication audit report. All areas of communication that is associated to OAMCUK (Website, School Newsletters, Photos around the academy, classrooms)
Targeted inventions for vulnerable BGM students / BGM NEET / BGM High prior attainers with mentors from BGM community, from a wide range of sectors. EG entrepreneurs from the business sector to create a ‘school to industry pipeline.’
Expand the Black and Global History trail to all subjects within the curriculum
Anti-Racist training in conjunction with local Grass root organisations that focuses on Anti-Racism resources to provide a framework for PSHE lessons. Opportunity to discuss issues relating to race, politics, culture, and identity with teaching staff chairing the conversations, addressing any misconceptions
Staff Training and CPD
Staff to become diversity champions, becoming experienced in an anti-racist and anti-oppressive pedagogy
Deliver a session on being diversity champions as staff
Anti-Racist Working party group (meeting termly)
Anti-racist training (Booked in for half term 2)
Anti-racist CPD structured in half term from specialist providers
Unconscious and implicit bias training
Targeted interventions for Black and Global Majority students
Review the area of concern (e.g. Careers / subject area) that needs intervention.
Targeted tutorials with the University of Manchester and Aim Higher for Black students interested in Optometry, Dentistry, and Physics.
Student ambassadors. Focused on an anti-racist approach and community cohesion
Student voice (Half Termly Termly) See survey https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=zz3XjXy17EC3-HVbUS2fe_xHa7NdGvVLrMTZ2vc5tthUOVFERktYUEkxMlhXNkhVRjVNRDROUkFDOS4u
Regular meetings with students that have been involved in racist attacks on other students. Far-right extremism/anti-racism interventions
Anti-Racist lessons, Followed up by targeted Interventions focused on the impact of Hate Crime
Anti-racist ambassador training
Leadership and Management
Term 1 Behavior Policy review: Critically Review existing school policy through the lens of Black and Global Majority Learners
Racist incidents 3 days in Internal exclusion that could lead to a Fixed Term Exclusion
Return to school meeting with parents and SLT
The incident is referred to the police and local authorities
Repeat offenders will be Fixed Term Excluded
Anti-racist course 6-week course to be completed
Amended Anti-Racist section in the home school agreement for parents and staff to sign
Review existing performance management content and include a target aligned with becoming an anti-racist school
Audit of racial indents sanctions and restorative interventions
Name Blind recruitment process when appointing new staff
Positive discrimination focused on the recruitment of Good/ outstanding BGM practitioners
BGM representation on the OCL equivalent of the Board of governors
Clear recruitment to leadership progression for BGM teachers
Improve local community links
Weekly meetings with the community strategy response team
Collaborations with local anti-racist organizations
Weekly meetings with the community strategy response team (Neighbourhood development officers, Salford Youth Service, Local Agencies focused on online safety, Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour updates from the local PCSO’s)
Increased involvement with community partners, utilising the Oasis Hub
“Life has no limitations apart from the ones you make for
In 2016, I decided that it was time to start a Master’s Degree in Education. I was proud to be starting my master’s in Educational Leadership at The University of Manchester. This was self-financed and had completed the course part-time, whilst supporting a young family and teaching on a full-time timetable. It was a challenging year in every aspect, to say the least! At first, I was fixated on my own limitations in relation to academic writing. I attended every intervention available focused on academic writing, downloaded every academic podcast and attended the university library after teaching on a daily basis in the first academic school. I had to live and breathe this on a daily in order to succeed.
Many people questioned the purpose of doing a master’s, as it wasn’t essential for progression to a leadership position within education. Masters in Educational Leadership was the obvious next stage in my career development. My purpose was always to pursue a career in teaching to lead educational change to make the educational system more inclusive for Black and Global Majority learner. I knew that I needed the knowledge and the credentials to be taken seriously.
The feedback that I received from my first assignment ‘A critical investigation into race in secondary education in England’ blew my mind. It gave me the confidence that I needed to progress no matter how challenging things may get and ultimately I was actually enjoying writing about a subject matter that I am deeply passionate about. The theme of my assignments was focused on social justice and inclusion in education, where I graduated last year with distinction.
It was at this point I thought it important to share my academic writing and developed the leading equality website, focusing on concerns relating to race in education. (click here for the full assignment)
Fast forward to the present day, I am able to utilise my specialist knowledge developed during my masters, in leading educational change by introducing an Anti-racist approach for Oasis Community Learning.
There is an increasing concern in the state of community cohesion within schools in England. Following the announcement of the Brexit referendum results and recent terrorist attacks in the UK mainland, police recorded over nine hundred hate crimes in or around school and colleges, 71% of which were racially motivated (City Council, 2018; Virdee, 2017; Bulman, 2018; Camden, 2017).
England has experienced unprecedented growth in Black and Global communities over the past sixty years. BGM student population has continued to increase annually in secondary schools in England, with an increase from 29.1% in 2017 to 30.3% in 2018 (DfE, 2018). Despite this, many schools still fail to be culturally inclusive, still adopting a ‘colour-blind’ approach (Lumby, 2016) that directly impacts BAME groups. This is detrimental towards fostering an inclusive environment and constructive community cohesion. Therefore, it is important for schools to adopt a strategic approach to address the underlying issues related to inclusion and community cohesion (Jones, 2013).
Community cohesion discourse was once a strategic government initiative that was institutionalised through policies and within schools in England, with the aim of integrating host and migrant communities as discussed by Jones, (2013). In 2011, schools’ contribution towards community cohesion was removed from Ofsted assessment framework, however, schools still have the duty to promote the policy (DfE, 2011). With the lack of framework, schools are left in a precarious position, trying to establish cohesive environments in multicultural settings.
Previous research suggests that schools need to intervene and promote a culture of inclusivity and social mixing to develop community cohesion within a school context (Lumby, 2016; Holden, 2013; Morris, 2011; Runnymede, 2018). To date, only a few studies (Rhamie, 2012; Hemming, 2011; Keddie, 2014), have attempted to investigate topics relating to community cohesion within a secondary school context. Therefore, this study offers some important insights into the dynamics of community cohesion in a multicultural inner-city secondary school and aims to contribute towards to this area of research. This dissertation is concerned with how, on a micro-level, schools implement and prioritise local policies related to community cohesion. It also investigates student perceptions regarding community cohesion within the school, with attention paid to pupil interaction and inclusion.
1.1 Research Context and Focus
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The case study site is at Spirit Academy (anonymised name), a secondary school in the North of England. The area has one of the highest levels of social deprivation within the UK, where the number of households who claim benefits is 25% higher than the national average, suggesting low employment rates within the area. The demographics of the surrounding area is predominantly ‘white working-class’. This a social class group used as a descriptor to describe British White people from a working-class area (Tyler, 2015). The area had a 5% BGM population in 2001 which increased to 14% in the last census in 2011. This is forecasted to increase to 34% in 2021 (City Council, 2018).
In 2017/2018 there was a 61% increase in hate crime, with racially motivated offenses consistently accounting for most of hate crimes recorded (City Council, 2018). Consequently, Hate Crime has been enforced as a strategic priority within the surrounding area of Spirit Academy. During the same timeframe, there was an increased level of migration from Europe and a growth in the BAME learners that now equates to 32.1% in Primary schools and 29.1% in Secondary schools in England (DfE, 2017). This reflects the trend throughout Europe, where migrants are concentrated in schools with a high level of disadvantaged students (Lumby, 2016). Migrants are often sent to overcrowded, community housing (Finney, 2009) and developing migrant hotspots has become a trend within the UK. This corresponds with Spirit Academy and the surrounding area. During the time of writing, the school was undersubscribed based on the number of students on roll compared to the building capacity. As migrant places are offered, an increase can be seen in the number of migrant students from a range of backgrounds. The school now has a BAME population that is over 35% of the school population which has continued to increase every year.
The primary data will be collected through a case-study. This will be achieved by obtaining the perspectives of students regarding community cohesion within the school and how the SLT facilitates community cohesion within the school. This has been framed using the following research questions;
Q1 What are the perceptions of students regarding community cohesion within the school?
Q2 What is the school’s strategy to support community cohesion?
1.2 Personal Motivation
The overall structure of the dissertation takes the form of six chapters. The introductory chapter first gives a brief overview of the dissertation. Chapter two begins by laying out the theoretical dimensions of the research and investigates the complicated history of migration of different ethnicities into England that has led to the introduction of community cohesion policies. It also addresses government interventions introduced on a macro level that have ultimately impacted schools and learners on a micro level. Chapter three is concerned with the methodology employed in the study, by describing the instrumentation utilized when conducting the interviews and survey design along with emergent themes influencing the analysis. Chapter four analyses the results from the survey and interviews, addressing each research question in turn. Chapter five discusses the principal findings and the implications for future research into community cohesion. The final chapter summarises the research and reflects on the research aims and questions.