Palvinder Singh

“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.”

Albert Einstein

The recent murder of George Floyd in America has led to a global protest for justice. I reflect and imagine a conversation with my younger self in the year 1993. This was an important year for me and many of the BAME UK community. It was the year A Level student Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racially motivated attack. The younger me is enthusiastic and hopeful about the future and is optimistic about what 2020 would look like, what the future would hold and that no future BAME generation would have to see, experience or feel part of an unfair and unjust society. I imagine myself looking at the young teenager in front of me who is about to go to university. He has his whole life ahead of him and I wonder how I to tell him that it’s the year 2020 and progress has stalled.

I remember leaving for university and witnessing the fear in my parents’ eyes, like it was yesterday. They worried about me going out and how the world around me saw a young brown male during a time when the BNP was at large. I don’t admit to knowing what it was like to be a Black male and understand some privilege associated with being an Asian male. I cannot begin to imagine the fear of black families with sons who are becoming young men. What I do know is how I catch myself watching my 18 year old turbaned son and thinking about how the world sees him. He went to a Black Lives Matter rally recently and I found myself more concerned about how he would be seen by the police than getting Covid-19. That cannot be right, can it? We were both born in this country and see ourselves as British but sometimes seeing what political leaders and supporters write positions us as outsiders?

So I focus the conversation with my younger self on technology. I explain how much closer the world has become and how mobile devices they have given people a platform to share how they feel, take photos and videos which can be shared globally instantly. I tell him that any question you have can get an instant answer, that information is readily available. If you want to learn something new or find out how to do something, you can view videos which will take you through the steps necessary to do it for yourself.


I leave this conversation in my mind and wonder what the future holds for me, my children and future BAME generations. I love FE and I enjoy seeing new students learning and developing. I get to see that transition from school life into adult life. It is an honour and a blessed thing to be part of. I do question however, whether the conversation about racism in another 27 years will remain the same. Will my son look at his children in the eyes of my father looking at me or the eyes of his father looking at him?

As a senior leader in FE, I am of the mind that anti-racism should be an integral part of our sector, the education and training we provide and how CPD is conducted. We have a collective responsibility to do this work which would be more worthwhile than the tick box equality and diversity approach which hasn’t worked since the 90s, because if it had, we wouldn’t still be in this position I realise #BLM is more complex than our sector but as educators we have a civic role to play. When I think about why matters of anti-racism are concealed under E&D departments, I realise that there is a huge discomfort in talking about race. So why do we expect BAME staff to have the emotional capacity to deal with the additional labour of enlightening their peers on all matters about race? It is problematic to ask those who might have had challenging experiences or a reluctance to see themselves as different especially when they have been conditioned not to talk about race.

White allyship is a necessity and this is a crucial time for FE leadership to recognise that #BLM is about unity and for us all to stand up for injustice in society. Sadly, I have seen little leadership in FE on this topic. There is a deafening silence and as a sector supposedly committed to often disadvantaged communities through education, I am stunned. Surely, we are places that promote social justice. Those who have spoken out, I applaud. The AoC and ETF know how important this is and are working hard to have this conversation but as a community of colleges and as educators, we must be present in this debate for central sector organisations.

Are we ready to have frank and brave conversations in colleges about systematic racism within the four walls of our offices and classrooms? Are we ready to discuss the FE stance on British colonial history in the FE curriculum? What messages are we sending out having never had a British born FTSE 100 chief executive from a BAME background? We need to have a more considered and systematic approach to not only raising aspirations but looking at other ways of supporting young people. One example might be providing mentoring opportunities for young black male students. I am in support of 'fair is not equal and equal is not fair.’

Colleges take students from every background and numbers matter for our income. Our sector is multi-cultural and diverse. It is consistently at the forefront of community cohesion and we enjoy outwardly celebrating this. However, we talk about financial sustainability without the consciousness of the communities we claim to serve. If we did, we would have conscious leaders who would keep this matter at the fore and maintain a national if not international debate to advocate anti-racism. We have a lot to do. Not only should our BAME attainment gaps be equal but our leadership and governance be reflective of our student populations. I am not by any means the first to raise this issue but we have to play our civic role for social mobility and justice.  

We are not doing enough. We can do better not because it is an equality target but because we recognise the challenges of an unequal society. We recognise also, our role as leaders and educators to have a very clear position for a fairer society. Black Lives Matter is not a recent movement. Black lives have always mattered and it is time to stop the pretence that all things are equal. These conversations can start now in senior leadership team meetings so that we can start to reflect and learn for ourselves how we work together as a sector to support the work of the AoC and ETF. This race for a fairer society will not be achieved by Black people or BAME communities alone. So as Albert Einstein said “Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.”

Palvinder Singh, Group Deputy Principal NCG, Kidderminster College reflects on a global movement.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Newsroom Activity

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page