Over the past few months, and like so many other organisations and individuals, we have been looking at ourselves and the role we ought to play in acting against racism.
Education has the power to really change things. We must work with others in the sector to ensure that we are doing all we can.
School staff generally, and school leadership specifically, need to be far more representative than they currently are. Racism in schools must be fought, and at the frontline of that battle are teachers who must be properly equipped. All education organisations, including Now Teach, need to look at what they are doing internally and externally to counter prejudice.
- BAME students’ behaviour is more likely to be rated harshly compared to similar behaviour of White students.
- Staff tend to express more positive and neutral speech toward White students than toward BAME students.
- BAME students are consistently given lower marks and less favourable feedback than their White counterparts.
- BAME teachers are less well retained in the profession than their White peers and far less likely to hold Senior Leadership roles.
Now Teach’s Approach
We know that real anti-racist work involves more than just writing a statement. Hoping and wishing for greater diversity is not enough. It will involve on-going and longer-term commitment. It will involve acknowledging our mistakes and it will involve a real conversation within the team and all our stakeholders.
We want to ensure that Now Teach strives for equality, diversity and inclusion in all we do.
We have appointed a working party within the Now Teach Team to lead and refine our approach and hold us accountable to the things we have said we will do. We have also held the first of a series of open conversations with Now Teachers on race and diversity.
Following these, we are committing, initially, to four concrete actions, to be completed over the next six months. Most importantly we pledge to keep open the conversation, self-reflection and aspiration to improve.
1. We will look hard at our own internal processes – including team recruitment, speaker and cohort events, governing structures– to ensure we are upholding values in which we can take pride.
2. We will examine our Now Teacher recruitment and marketing to ensure we are doing all we can to diversify the teaching population.
3. We will ensure all Now Teachers have access to EDI in education training before they qualify.
4. We will ensure the NT team undertake further EDI training and work to embed a culture of inclusion and keep open a conversation and learning about diversity.
While we recognise that training is a good start, we are not so naïve as to think it is a solution. And while we recognise that diversity of recruitment is important, we also recognise that it is only a partial solution given the problems in BAME teacher retention and school leadership. We must work together with schools and training partners to understand why and act for change.
Finally, we will look to forge partnerships with other organisations and add our voice to those campaigning for change within the education system and curriculum.
We would welcome your thoughts, experience or feedback, please email firstname.lastname@example.org