Our mission is to work towards an education sector that is a reflection of our society and tackle racial inequality in education in the South West
We are the South West England's regional hub of a grassroots network aimed at ensuring our diverse communities are represented as a substantive part of the education workforce for teachers and leaders in education. We are also a grassroots network committed to addressing the full range of issues of racial inequality in the education sector, such as tackling the prevalence of an ethnocentric, colonial curriculum, and addressing the systemic problems within the education sector that leads BAME young people to be disproportionately negatively represented in high level sanctions and exclusion figures.
Difficulties in recruiting diversely is not a new issue; it is not something that has never been talked about. There have been programmes aimed at changing the visible face of education and there have been marginal gains. Change is happening but needs acceleration. This is never more apparent than in the South West region as exemplified by the 2017 report that stated that Bristol is the worst city in the UK for racial equality (Runnymede Trust, 2017) and the BBC Inside Out West documentary that highlighted that there were only 26 black teachers out of 1346 secondary school teachers in Bristol (BBC, 2018).
This network is an open invitation to ALL for action to diversify all aspects of education in the South West region. The support is for the graduate seeking to make the step into teaching as much as the Deputy stepping up to Headship. There are a few different grassroots organisations in the South West region seeking to work on some of these issues; for example, on diversifying curriculum content. We intend to work with these organisations but also to focus our attention primarily on strategic change at the level of governance, recruitment practices and policy-making in educational institutions in the region.
This is an open network. We seek to learn from each other and actively include all ethnicities. Our mix of culture and identity in the network engenders the ideal that we seek to develop in education across the UK.
We are focusing on strategic change at the level of governance, recruitment practices and policy-making to support leaders in education across the South West to:
Recruit and retain more BAME staff and governors in education in the South West, creating ‘professional’ standards that are culturally aware and supporting BAME staff on their journey into senior leadership
Ensure a culturally diverse, anti-racist curriculum in educational institutions across the South West
Ensure that schools adopt an inclusive and restorative approach to discipline that does not disadvantage BAME students and result in them being over-represented in behaviour sanctions
Empowering students and staff to able to have a voice against racism in their educational setting