Anti-Racist Education Update: Term 1 Review

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 Kids of Colour and resources provided by www.theracetrust.com and MUSA ( https://musa.wisdomagainstracism.com/ ) 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)

Next Steps

  • Targeted inventions for vulnerable BGM students / BGM NEET / BGM High prior attainers with mentors from BGM community, from a wide range of sectors. EG The Race Trust and 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 Kids of Colour and resources provided by theracetrust.org and MUSA 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)
  • Kids of color Anti-racist training (Booked in for half term 2)
  • Wisdom against Racism MUSA training via introduction with all staff (Booked in for half term 2)

Next Steps

  • Anti-racist CPD structured in half term from specialist providers (The race trust and Kids of Colour, Anne Frank Trust )
  • Unconscious and implicit biastraining

Student Education

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  via the race Trust (Next term)
  • 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 in involved in racist attacks on other students. Far-right extremism/anti-racism interventions Small little steps anti-racist training https://smallstepsconsultants.com/
  • Anti-Racist lessons, Followed up by targeted Interventions focused on the impact of Hate Crime via The race Trust / Kids of colour

Next Steps

  • Anti-racist ambassador trainning with (The race trust and Kids of Colour, Anne Frank Trust)

Leadership and Management

Term 1 Behavior Policy review: Critically Review existing school policy through the lens of Black and Global Majority Learners

Key changes

  • 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
  • MUSA anti-racist course 6-week course to be completed
  • Amended Anti-Racist section in the home school agreement for parents and staff to sign

Next Steps

  • 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

Community

Improve local community links

  • Weekly meetings with the community strategy response team
  • Collaborations with local anti-racist organisations (eg, Anne Frank Trust, The Race Trust, Kids of Colour)
  • 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)

Next Steps

  • Increased involvement with community partners, utilising the Oasis Hub

Educational Leadership- A personal journey

“Life has no limitations apart from the ones you make for yourself”

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.

An investigation into community cohesion within an inner-city secondary school: Introduction

1.0 Introduction

 

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

 

 

1.3 Structure

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.