In recent years, the urgent need for inclusive education and anti-racist practices within schools has gained considerable attention. Acknowledging the systemic racism that persists within educational institutions is an essential step toward tackling the inequalities that are deeply entrenched.

HEP’s anti-racism work

Here at HEP, both anti-racism and governance form large parts of our work. HEP, in partnership with Haringey Council and schools, created the Black Caribbean and BAME Achievement Pledge for schools. In the Pledge, schools commit to a lead governor for racial equity as well as completing a self-evaluation and sharing the results with governors. They also promise to identify and track BAME achievement, appoint a Black Caribbean and BAME champion, and engage BAME parents’ views at school.

HEP have worked with existing governors to encourage parents, carers and professionals from a wider range of backgrounds to become school governors. We also organise an annual racial equity conference (you can view the 2021 and 2022 conferences on our Vimeo).

What is anti-racist governance and how can we talk about it?

In this HEP Talks episode, we have the privilege of delving into a thought-provoking podcast interview with Penny Rabiger, an ex-teacher and educational consultant who has worked with the Key for School Leaders, Lyfta, and the BAMEed Network. Penny is also a member of HEP’s Racial Equity Steering Group as well as a school governor in a Haringey primary school. This podcast explores anti-racist school governance and provides actionable insights for combating systemic racism.

An important starting place for any complex topic, especially one as sensitive as race and systemic racism, is terminology. Our discussion began by examining terms such as BAME, an imperfect and problematic acronym used to describe people of Black, Asian, and minority ethnic heritage, as well as exploring race and colour-blindness. Penny was able to unpack these terms to provide a better understanding as words and communication are critically important.

Actionable anti-racism

What can governors do to promote anti-racism in their schools? Penny acknowledges that taking action and making an impact as a governor is challenging, but to make things easier, she and her colleagues designed a handbook specifically for anti-racist governance. You can find that handbook, as well as information about the Talking Race Podcast, Race Equality for Governors training, and the Antiracist School Award at the webpage for The Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality.

Later in the interview, Penny talks about her PhD research at Leeds Beckett University and how that ties into her other work on anti-racism. The PhD involves talking to people leading on anti-racism at their schools, including their motivations and their plans of action. When asked if she was sure about her approach to combat racism (despite some pushback from people and groups that promote a ‘race-neutral’ outlook, for example), she was unwavering.

Listen to the full interview on HEP Talks

Listen to the entire conversation on HEP Talks, which can be found on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you get your podcasts.

If you have a topic that you’re interested in or want to talk about on our podcast, please send me an email at Luke.Kemper@haringeyeducationpartnership.co.uk and you might get featured on an upcoming episode. Stay tuned to HEP Talks!

About the Author:

Luke Kemper

Luke Kemper is Insight and Intelligence Lead at HEP. He recently graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Education, Globalisation and International Development. Before that, he worked for seven years as a university lecturer and high school teacher in China and Poland.

HEP Talks Podcast

The voice of Haringey Education Partnership. A weekly briefing on the latest stories in education news, deep diving into developments and interviews with leading voices in Education.

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