Dr Maxine Room CBE, Medacrii Associates Ltd

I have been trying to find the right words, more than that the right language. It feels very strange to be recounting something so personal when for years this would have caused me so many penalties. This is part of my story. Flashbacks to my childhood growing up in a three roomed basement flat in Hackney with my single white mother who always seemed to be searching for my Jamaican father. A mixed-race child, a coloured child, a half caste. My education journey and success now seem to add up to a series of events where I was hidden in plain sight.

Education was my salvation and my opportunity.

My personal history is in parallel to world events that should have negated and impeded my progress as a black child, a black teenager, a black woman. Yet, education, primary, secondary, teacher training, degrees all contributed to my passage through a white, privileged world. I navigated it all but at what cost? What did I learn? To survive, thrive and compromise. I became a chameleon to fit in, be accepted and learn the code. Education both aided and abetted a way of being, to be accepted. However, this is not acceptable in 2021.

This week has brought back into sharp focus two seemingly separate pieces of history that affected me indirectly but profoundly.

  1. Firstly, Subnormal: A British scandal, a BBC One programme documenting the writing off black children in the 70’s as Educationally Sub-Normal.
  2. Secondly moving to present day, today to be precise, is a piece of history relating to one man but affecting millions of others, not the minority but the increasing majority. The anniversary of George Floyd’s death at the knee of a police officer.

So, what is the connection?

When the time came for me to progress from primary to secondary my mother fought tooth and nail for my right to go to Grammar School. Two schools rejected me as they only had ‘limited places’, replace that for, quota. I finally got a place at Skinner’s Company School for Girls. More enlightened about race or simply filling their quota? I escaped being sent to an ESN school but I have vague recollections of conversations above my head as to my suitability and ability for a Grammar School. My mother knew that if I was going to get anywhere in life education was going to be the key that opened the doors. Surely it has, but there has been a cost to working in the system and cracking the code, fitting in and ignoring the messages of racism to be included.

Fast forward to this day a year ago.

Could education have saved George Floyd?

Not just his education, but the education of the bystanders, including police officers, who watched his pain and his plight? I came across a range of photographs depicting those that saw what happened. They were also the same witnesses at the trial. They ranged in age, ethnicity, gender and possibly social class. Did their educational experience make them feel and act in a helpless way? Rather than empowering they were disenfranchised to act in a humanitarian way that would have saved him. We are often paralysed by the systems we are forced to live and work in. This is not just a US problem to solve as BBCs Fighting the Power: Britain after George Floyd clearly articulated. Racism is a pervasive destructive force based on a spurious construct of colour. Changing the narrative for those who have grown up within a racist world is one way, changing education and giving positive voice to the youngest so we never again witness atrocities based on race, colour, ethnicity will make the whole world a better place.

Anti-racist education is not just a nice to have it is now an imperative for every organisation if we are to embed not just equality and diversity but inclusivity and belonging. It can be a part of education in so many ways no matter what the age. However, the mistake often made is that the victims must solve the problem of inequalities not the perpetrators and the gatekeepers.

Work by the Black FE Leadership Group in developing a 10pt Plan and an associated Anti-Racism Train the Trainer Toolkit have been both strategic and innovative in their approach.

However, this tool is not just for FE it is of universal use. My education skills, abilities are just one aspect of being able to use this to educate and inform others. Another aspect is being able to emerge fearless from the shadows with my authentic identity.

My work, after many years in Further Education, is now entrepreneurial and affords me the luxury of being able to work in areas that are my passion, coaching and mentoring, together with developing organisations. These are all rooted in inclusive diversity. Working with associates that bring their diverse identities, experiences and skills to bear on projects, training and organisational change is both exciting and challenging.

I must believe that a different type of education that tackles systemic inequalities and the intersectionality of discrimination, bias and prejudice is the way forward. I do not want to be part of a society that continues not to see what is in plain sight.

Dr Maxine Room CBE, Medacrii Associates Ltd

The Black FE Leadership Group 10 Point Plan

Curriculum

  1. A radical revision of FE curricula and qualifications to reflect contemporary British values, incorporating the importance of colonial history and its influence on society, historically and now; the impact of racism on black and white communities; the contributions made by black people to society.

Climate

  1. College recruitment processes, including the deployment of recruitment companies, to proactively address imbalances in the diversity of leadership at all levels.
  1. Ofsted and other quality assurance bodies to evaluate the effectiveness of pedagogy and curriculum practice in promoting race equality, alongside strategies to address attainment gaps through college inspections reports and their own annual reports.

Culture

  1. All teacher training, professional development and leadership programmes to include, as a central component, the consideration of racial equality; and for teacher training, the inclusion of anti-racist pedagogy.
  2. All Colleges to annually publish student performance, staff and governor profile data by ethnicity, including actions to address identified gaps.
  1. The FE Commissioner’s annual report, diagnostic assessments and structural reviews to include data on BAME leaders, managers and governors against the profile of college student populations and local demographics.
  1. FE regulatory bodies, development organisations and unions to collaborate with colleges to design and implement a common framework to share best practice in the advancement of racial literacy and justice across all modes of learning.
  1. All regulatory bodies, funders and membership groups to publish workforce, leadership and governance profile data by ethnicity, including actions to address gaps.
  1. All sectoral committees, boards or advisory groups established to address racism and inequalities to be led by and made up of those with real insight of these issues, or expertise in these areas.

Communications

  1. All organisations with an investment in FE (whether statutory, regulatory, representative or commercial) to ensure fair and positive treatment of BAME students, staff and communities, in terms of optics, content and impact.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Solvendis added a new event 15 hours

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training (Zoom Conferencing)

A provider’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) plays a critical role in its approach to safeguarding its learners, training its staff, providing...

  • Wednesday, 15 September 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing
Solvendis added a new event 16 hours

Level 3 Award in Education & Training (Zoom Conferencing)

  • Thursday, 23 September 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing
Solvendis added a new event 16 hours

Ofsted Inspection Nominee Training (Zoom Conferencing)

Within inspection, Ofsted invites providers to nominate a senior member of staff to act as the main link with the inspection team. Ofsted suggests...

  • Friday, 23 July 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing

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 Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 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, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

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.

Podcasts

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.

Events

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