ANTI-RACISM SERVICES FOR SCHOOLS
In the wake of the global Black Lives Matter protests, institutions are being asked to review how they move on from a place of being non-racist to actively anti-racist, with a demonstratable stance on anti-black racism.
Independent and grammar schools, in particular, have come under public scrutiny in this respect, and the issues highlighted can be attributed to a disproportionate lack of Black governance, staff and students in these spaces.
In response to the series of open letters sent to schools by students and alumni detailing experiences of racism, in June 2020, ACEN members requested that we contact 40+ independent and grammar schools as a collective to both address issues of racism, and offer solutions to move towards the creation of actively anti-racist learning environments for students and staff alike. Please click here for a copy of the ACEN letter.
The resulting conversations were predominantly the same, with schools sharing the same challenges, misunderstandings, and in some cases fears. Most schools rushed to procure unconscious bias training and even at that time, we were aware that it provided too narrow a focus, and would have limited success if delivered in silos, without being part of a holistic framework.
Perhaps because of the lack of diversity, schools are recognised as trailing behind the business sector on issues of diversity and inclusion. Our network consists of professionals, a sizable number of whom have the requisite skills and experience to design and deliver anti-racism services, alongside the lived experience as past students, parents, teachers, and professionals. We have combined our expertise to formulate a series of services and initiatives to help tackle the anti-black racism we continue to see and experience daily.
Our network includes teachers and senior leaders across the independent and grammar sector. All of our training is research-informed with the collective expertise and lived experience of our network (including teachers, students, parents, and professionals) and almost always delivered by academics.
ACEN emphatically states that lived experience is an expertise in and of itself. Considering the issues and subtleties of structural racism and the ways in which they manifest in society more widely, anti-black racism services should be procured by Black training providers. We also believe that this should be the same when procuring specialist DE&I services for all groups with protected characteristics.
To help schools undertake this work in an achievable and accountable manner, we have created a comprehensive anti-racism framework of services that directly tackle the host of issues as communicated by thousands of students, parents, alumni, and teachers across the country.
The framework is vast and covers everything from curriculum recommendations and policy to ‘lost customer’ research and governor training. We are clear that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach and the recommendations given must be relevant to each school depending on where they are in their anti-racism journey.
Our experience in this space has shown that without an audit of each environment and the creation of a specific anti-racism roadmap as a result of that audit, schools run the risk of undertaking work that’s not orderly, impactful, permanent, or recognised as relevant by their minority stakeholders.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of our full-service brochure.