School Training & Consultancy Testimonials

Having attended the ACEN conference in 2021 at Dulwich College, I was very impressed with the information, approach and engagement of the whole ACEN team and their guest speakers. This led to inviting ACEN to Bishop’s Stortford College to speak to all staff about Unconscious Bias and to carry out workshops with teaching staff advising and guiding them on recognising and dealing with microaggressions. The presentation and workshops had a significant impact on the staff. All the speakers had such warmth and were engaging and personable. They made approaching this subject area much easier and created safe spaces so questions could be asked and discussed. There was a genuine buzz amongst staff after the sessions and this continued on into the following terms. Teachers were talking, questioning and actively using the sessions in departments and across year groups. The delivery supported changes across the College community. ACEN helped us grow more confident with our understanding of Diversity and Inclusion, not just staff, but enabling us to cascade this message to pupils, parents and our wider community. This is the start of an exciting journey.

Whole school INSET – Unconscious Bias, Racial Literacy & Microaggressions

Your session was engaging and thought-provoking. You tactfully managed to ilk questions out of the staff (well done!) by creating a safe space for everyone and we all valued hearing your answers. I was also encouraged by the number of staff who stayed back to ask you questions more discretely; I’m glad you were able to support them and it reflects the need for your expertise. Thank you both and I look forward to working with you again in the EDI landscape.

Whole School INSET – Understanding Recent Movements for Race Equality andThe Rationale for Anti-Racism

's Weybridge

The workshops were brilliant and have provided us with a great deal to think about and follow up on. All of the facilitators communicated the messages with such clarity, with reflections on personal experience as well as the broader historical and societal picture, and encouraged staff to contribute, ask questions and be fully involved with and challenged by the material presented. A number of colleagues have fed back to me on how useful they found the session and the effective departmental conversations it stimulated. The workshops brought lived experience – and therefore a powerful pupil/colleague-centred approach – to their centre as a powerful frame for the anti-racism work we are continuing to build and develop.

Whole School INSET – Let’s Just Talk about Race: Towards Racial Literacy, Confidence, and Competence


Malcolm is charismatic speaker, who draws his audience in with a combination of real data, personal anecdotes, statistics, humour and intellectual verve. Everyone was engaged, both in his talk, which was well illustrated by informative slides, but also by the practical workshops which got us thinking, talking, reflecting on our teaching practice. Staff were really inspired and praise came from some unlikely sources who are usually hard to impress. Malcolm explained so sympathetically the need to consider the lived experience of our (few) black pupils. Malcolm was very non-judgemental, he understands how to bring people with him and everyone came away from the workshop with greater awareness of what it means to be anti-racist. Everyone felt they learnt a lot and had a better understanding of the importance of an actively anti-racist mindset among the school community. The term “decolonising the curriculum” was brilliantly explained by Malcolm and no one left unconvinced of its importance and how every area of the curriculum can make an effort to be more inclusive by using images, topics, etc to inspire all pupils. We sense that pupils are more ready to call out incidents of racist language or microaggressions and our black and Asian pupils seem more confident in talking about their experiences, their heritage and microagressions that they might have experienced. Lastly, ACAAS (the African, Caribbean, Asian and Allies Society, which was inspired by your first ACEN conference, has been really successful, too.

Anti-Racism in Action: Anti-Racist Pedagogy

St Dunstan’s College has benefitted hugely from ACEN to further our anti-racist educational environment; Shola and her team delivered excellent training for all staff, and were able to adapt their delivery based on the audience. Shola and her team collaborated with a wide range of the St Dunstan’s community, including our student leads, prompting challenging questions and facilitating ambitious strategy for equality and diversity within our College. We recommend the expertise and skill of ACEN highly, and their training programme and ongoing dialogue has been instrumental in the formulation and enacting of our ongoing commitment to ensure St Dunstan’s College is a place where all learners and teachers feel inspired and supported to be their authentic selves, championed as individuals.

Whole school INSET – Unconscious Bias

African Caribbean Education Network - St Dunstans College

We’ve focussed on the policy side of our work together, which we found helpful….ACEN provided very helpful input into our policies. The team were wonderful to work with. They took the time to understand, and were proactive and thorough in their advice. We’re grateful for their considered support throughout the process and feel this will help us better support our parent and pupil body.

Policy Consultancy


We’re delighted to be working with ACEN. As the best of critical friends, they are helping us all in the Dulwich College community – pupils, staff, and parents – to grow in confidence in talking about race and promoting racial equity. I’d describe them as offering a listening service: they don’t pontificate; they look to understand where you are and what you are already doing in regard to diversity and inclusion and then they help you move forward from there, step by step, in a way that feels meaningful and sustainable.

Our roadmap (originally developed by Dr Malcolm Cocks) and action planning has 5 core actions with recruitment and retention being core to shifting mindsets and culture and becoming more diverse in our staff body. This helps us see where we are on the map, what is working in terms of our actioning and how to develop this further. Whilst we have the actions and planning in place the knowledge gleaned from the sessions has helped boost how this understanding can now be widespread and ‘lived’ in what we do throughout our processes.

Leah helped us navigate our processes and the multi-faceted complexities of recruitment and retention as an organisation and individuals. Her delivery in the sessions was judgement free, she quickly established a rapport with the groups and created a safe space for discussion, questions and suggestions. Her approach was to look both broadly and at the individual experience, she was able to balance challenging conversations and data ensuring the session was also solution driven. Data and fact underpin the messaging and is rigorous ensuring there is the time to problem solve and move forward.

Further to this the importance of recruiting broadly from the practical aspects of where we advertise and reach out and how we retain and support staff. The impacts are being seen in the recruitment process with practical actions and processes tweaked and in place, this is ongoing and continually reflected on and reviewed. The importance of having consistent messaging through training and our ongoing partnership with ACEN is ensuring our full staff body is becoming (and maintaining) an inclusive anti-racist organisation.


Aisha delivered a clear and well-considered presentation. A wide range of resources were used effectively and this meant the students were engaged and the student participation activities were very effective. All of the classroom presenters were patient and engaged the students effectively and did not shy away from any questions. This created thoughtful discussion that carried on after the session into lunch. The session enabled students to develop their understanding, but also encouraged them to reflect on how they may behave in a range of situations. This gave them a lot to think about and discuss.

Student Workshops – Understanding Microaggressions

Listening to parents and carers has been such a key part of our inclusion work to date. Having ACEN facilitate a confidential, closed-doors session with parents and carers of pupils with African and Caribbean heritage in June 2021 was so vital to this work. Their expert navigation of the experiences and stories, and skilled prioritisation of key recommendations cemented the voices of our families in our ongoing commitment to anti-racism”.

In addition, having Shola and Aisha observe our recent curriculum and pastoral update events for parents and carers of pupils with African and Caribbean heritage was, as ever, enormously valuable. They were able to get a sense of our progress on their recommendations for us, and gave us valuable feedback on how the events were run and received from an outside parent perspective. Being able to reflect with them afterwards was so helpful!”

Facilitation & observation of parent sessions & curriculum and pastoral update events

Staff were immediately at ease and made to feel comfortable enough to ask difficult questions. This is a testament to both of you, Shola and Leah as your delivery and content were both informative, correctly paced and pitched. I am really pleased that staff have better knowledge around racial literacy and I have already noticed the increase in race-related conversations in the staff room. I am sure this filter through to students soon too.

Unconscious Bias Training 

Thank you to the ACEN members who came to Haileybury for our INSET day. Justice ran the session I attended; she was most informative and helpful. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and found all speakers to be both interesting and educational. Your work has encouraged me to reflect on my own teaching practice and, indeed, my outlook in general. Feedback at our end has been that you and your team led some really excellent sessions. Overall, we are very pleased by the discussions that you were all able to facilitate in the workshops so thank you very much for that.

Whole school INSET – Racial Literacy and Understanding Microaggressions

The diverse recruitment and HR session was wonderfully delivered. It has prompted a few immediate actions, and provided a greater sense of urgency to proposed medium and long term goals. It has also underlined the need for continual reflection.

Diverse Recrutiment & HR Workshop

School staff were very impressed by the workshop delivered by ACEN. The speaker was extremely well prepared and clarified key concepts. It was informative, created a safe space for people to talk freely allowing people to discuss complex, and sometimes, sensitive issues, in a way that allowed people to learn and reflect on how everyone can become more aware of their attitudes around race and how to combat racism. It has enabled people to talk more freely about anti-racism and to look for advice. It has also informed the way they relate with pupils, showing greater sensitivity and awareness.

I would thoroughly recommend the workshops.

Whole school INSET – Racial Literacy and Understanding Microaggressions

At JAGS, a diverse school in south London, we seek to foster a working school environment which is truly inclusive and where all students and staff are known as individuals. Race – among many aspects which make up identity – plays a part in this, and staff and students have fed back in surveys that they wanted to play their part in making a racially literate and safe context. ACEN contributed to the school’s existing EDI initiatives by delivering a whole school seminar in Autumn 2023 on racial literacy, followed by a workshop on microaggressions. Staff reported they greatly valued the space and opportunity to consider situations from the position of students, teaching staff, support staff, and to think about how perceptions around race play a role in behaviour. The seminar and workshops were sensitively set up by ACEN staff and we felt that the facilitators allowed us to discuss a topic which requires common literacy and knowledge with an openness to listen and learn from others. 

Whole school INSET – Racial Literacy and Understanding Microaggressions

Aisha delivered the workshop very well, generating good feedback and input and debate from staff. Shola delivered well in both the workshop – in tone and delivery – and in the theatre.

There is no doubt that these messages and also talking openly about race and ethnicity and discussing our approaches and listening to perspectives and the theory behind positionality etc – we needed to hear and be part of, to enable us to move on in our awareness journey. Many staff showed hands that they would not have even felt comfortable talking about race / ethnicity previously at school. And these sessions helped educate and make them more confident and competent to do so.

The fact that this training came after our safeguarding in the morning worked well, as fundamentally this is in no small part down to being alert and vigilant to child and child abuse (and ready to challenge it and deal with it) of which racism is one insidious form.

This will give staff greater confidence to challenge wrongdoing within the community and to report it and feel confident in doing so in an appropriate manner.

There is no doubt that it also gave staff much more insight into issues surrounding bias, positionality and intersectionality and greater empathy in how black and non white pupils will see themselves within the community

Whole school INSET – Racial Literacy and Understanding Microaggressions

We had Leah visit CLSG not too long ago for a training session on recruitment with our senior management team, she was phenomenal and all spoke highly of the training.

Diverse Recrutiment & HR Workshop

Woodhouse Grove School was delighted to welcome Dr. Shola Apena Rogers and Serena DeCordova from ACEN to deliver to excellent sessions on Racial Inequality & Literacy and Microaggressions. The sessions provided colleagues with an opportunity to engage in this emotive topic in a safe space and to develop knowledge and confidence with this subject area. The presenters offered their knowledge and wisdom in a thoroughly engaging and non-judgmental way and ensured that colleagues felt able to reflect on their experiences, their own practice and also ask questions to ensure clarity. The advice on dealing with microaggressions was particularly useful and colleagues appreciated this; both in dealing with these issues as they witness them, or how they can respond if accused of using a microaggression. The sessions are a launching pad for further in-depth work on this topic, with pupil’s experiences being the next area of exploration in order to inform further anti-racism work in the school. We will be welcoming representatives from the Every Future Foundation to lead student workshops later this term.

Whole School INSET – Let’s Just Talk about Race: Towards Racial Literacy, Confidence, and Competence