#TEDxNorwichED: Diverse Dreams

So yesterday I took on the personal and professional challenge of presenting at #TEDxNorwichEd.

You can watch my #TEDx talk on Diverse Dreams here:

My original transcript is detailed below (I missed a few bits out and improvised by adding the anecdotes at the end in!)

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Martin Luther King had a dream, a big dream. He had a dream about social integration not social segregation. He spearheaded making that dream a reality and creating a land of equal opportunities.

We all have dreams. Big and small. I have diverse dreams. I have dreams about diversity.

Before I share my dreams with you I would like to share my realities with you.

I have taught and led in South London for 12 years and invite you to come on a journey with me to visit one of these schools. As we go on this journey I want you to focus on your senses and the details, zooming in on the faces and listening to the voices of the different people who we meet.

Imagine:

  • We meet in Tooting near the market – we hear a variety of different languages being spoken in this cultural melting pot.
  • We jump on a bus – we see a range of different people from different places.
  • We are greeted at the school gates by the SLT – 3 white male school leaders.
  • We are guided across the playground by Nikkita our guide  -we hear a cacophany of different languages and accents being spoken.
  • We are shown through reception – we notice the beautiful black and white photos of happy children creating memories of micro-moments.
  • We enter an English classroom – Year 8 are studying war poetry, the walls are covered in images of war poets and war soldiers – all white men.
  • We stop in the corridor to admire a big, bold, bright display – Nikkita explains it is October so it black history month, the month we celebrate diversity.
  • We meet the Senior Leadership Team – 3 white men.
  • We notice the leadership photos and Governing Body photos on the boardroom wall – predominantly white men.
  • We sign out and leave the school, our final impression being the black and white photos.

The realities of our education system.

Despite beautiful black and white photos of beautiful black and white children celebrating diverse communities framed on the walls and plastered on our school websites and prospectus, most of our schools are more like a Dulux colour chart – our schools get paler (and maler) the higher up the hierarchy you progress. Sadly, this leadership model does not reflect the communities we serve

I have taught in schools in South London for 12 years, schools which are predominantly populated with children from diverse backgrounds 55-60% to be precise. In 3 schools, on 3 leadership teams, 3 boardrooms and only had 2 BAME SLT colleagues, both women.

What message are we sending to our young people when black women clean our schools and white men lead our schools? 

In our schools we advocate a growth mindset for learning but do we advocate a growth mindset for leading?

How are we inspiring the next generation to be anything they set their hearts on?

So I have diverse dreams, I have dreams about:

  • Diverse classrooms – where teachers with different cultural experiences share their cultural heritage.
  • Diverse curriculum – where the writers, poets, scientists, historians we are study are from a range of different backgrounds.
  • Diverse corridors – where displays celebrate the global majority instead of the ethnic minority.
  • Diverse role models – where a range of visitors and speakers who represent our diverse society are invited in to inspire our next generation of teachers and leaders.

I have dreams about:

  • Diverse Senior Leadership Teams – who challenge our systemic barriers.
  • Diverse Governance – who champion our diverse leaders.
  • Diverse politicians – who understand our diverse communities.
  • Diverse policy makers – who promote our diverse society.

Different faces in each of these different places.

Diverse thinkers making diverse decisions about our classrooms, our schools, our education system being made by a group diverse leaders who represent the diverse community who will be affected. Not group think  by the privileged elite.

I dream about diverse champions:

  • Who all take collective responsibility for under-representation.
  • Who we all challenge the unconscious biases.
  • Who all champion and celebrate difference.

I dream about diverse changemakers – where we all make the invisible visible, where we all showcase the hidden figures in our schools.

Women need #heforshe advocates and BAME need white allies to champion for change.

So, how do I want us to inspire the next generation?

I want us to all inspire the next generation by dreaming about diversity:

  • By not just dreaming about diversity, but by making these diverse dreams into diverse realities.
  • By talking about diversities, not just diversity, we will inspire the next generation.
  • By appreciating that diversity is more than just a difference in skin tone.
  • By looking beyond the visible differences and seeking out the invisible differences too.

In my diverse dreams:

  • Our school system inspires a diverse workforce where diverse people become professionals
  • Our multi-cultural schools are led by multi-cultural school teachers and school leaders

So I ask you all to

  • Open your minds
  • Open your eyes
  • Open your ears
  • Open your hearts
  • Open your mouths

By connecting with our values, by living our values we are enabled to actively seek to change – if we value diversity then we need to live diversity – our behaviours and our actions need to reflect it too.

We need to see it. We need to say it. We need to challenge it. We need to champion it. We need to believe it.

If as a society we truly believe in and standby diversity then we need to ensure that diversities drive our decision making and our actions.

So I demand you all to #beboldforchange. To be white allies.

  • Together we are stronger
  • Together we are taller
  • Together we are bolder

By being bold for change, we can ensure that we achieve meaningful diversity.

By being bold together we can affect systemic change by inspiring the next generation.

By inspiring the next generation we will open doors and create opportunities for a diverse workforce.

I hope that we will all begin to realise not my, but our, diverse dreams.

Together, let’s inspire a diverse generation.

Anecdote 1:

Leading the Diversity and Equalities Grant for 75 #BAMEed leaders has been eye opening. At our launch in South London, we caused a stir. BAME students walked past and came back to check out what was going on. They had never seen such a density of black and Asian people together before. The delegates found it entertaining and commented -they only used to seeing a group like this when there is trouble, they think we are starting a riot – but we are creating a revolution.

Anecdote 2:

I have been asked to speak at 3 national events in the last 2 months to speak about Diversity and Equality. When I checked who else was on the line up via the draft programme, there was no BAME representation.   I challenged the organisers and refused to speak unless they recitified this.

Anecdote 3:

There are 27,000 Headteachers in the UK, only 270 are BAME. We believe there is only 1 BAME CEO in the UK school system. Approximately 8% of our teachers are BAME, 1 in 4 of our students are BAME but you only have a 1/100 chance of becoming a BAME Headteacher.

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I also blogged via StaffRm #womened about my journey and experience of public speaking: https://staffrm.io/@misswilsey/FPprXtamJI

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • Challenging our school communities to champion the multiplicity of ‘diversities’ and not just ‘diversity’
  • Calling more ‘white allies’ to be change agents and champion #BAMEed and Diverse Leaderssr

Currently reading and thinking about:

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • Jaz Ampaw-Farr for challenging Natalie Scott and I to submit an application for #TEDxNorwichEd – it is ‘Because of You’ my dear!
  • Amjad Ali, Jen Hart, Jaz and Natalie as the #TEDxNorwichEd team  -you are a fab tribe to be part of.
  • Amy Harvey and Leah Stewart – we couldn’t have asked for better coaches and champions.
  • Annemarie Williams – your advice and constructive feedback on my content and delivery but much appreciated.
  • Faye Kilgour, Action Jackson, Nick Corston and Julie Hunter for traveling to Norwich to be cheerleaders us.
  • Everyone online who has tweeted and commented words of encouragement and support.

#SENDed: “Making the invisible visible”

Just under a year ago Anita Kerwyn-Nye rang me to ask if the Harris Federation would be interested in participating in a MAT pilot on peer-to-peer SEND reviewing. It was a DfE funded project and we would work in collaboration with AET. I had just started my secondment as the Professional Learning Leader across the MAT and the TSA; my remit from the CEO and the Director of Education was to make our system leadership and CPD offer more outward-facing, so it seemed like a great opportunity to start as I meant to go on.

So I found myself as a named representative of educational stakeholders on the Whole SEND steering group. To be clear, I am not a SEND specialist, I am a T&L/Professional Learning leader and I have an inclusive value set. It is not very often I feel like an imposter, but I can remember entering the room for the first meeting last spring – it was like the SEND super group. Everyone who was anyone (in the twitter bubble at least) for SEND was there – Anita, David Bartram and the London Leadership Strategy had assembled all of the SEND powerhouses including Vijita Patel, Nancy Gedge, Simon Knight, Jarlath O’Brien, Dr Adam Boddison, Rob Webster and representatives from organisations like LKMCO, NASEN, NET and the Driver Youth Trust. I was suitably impressed and knew that this group meant business. I also knew that I would be challenged and would learn a lot!

A year later, a series of Whole SEND steering group meetings, audits and reviews have culminated today in a fantastic #SENDed inaugural summit.

Keynotes:

Anita Kerwyn-Nye – set the context of the SEND landscape and shared personal stories about being the Mum of children being diagnosed with additional educational needs, potentially be failed by the system. Anita shared the community of practice behind  and made it clear that not everything that makes a difference costs. It’s about attitude too.

“What we have to do is support the teachers, charities and individuals trying to make children’s lives better”.

“We need to be an inclusive society. We need diversity of thought. We need some different thinking in our schools. “We need diversity of thought to solve the world’s problems”.

“The measure of a civilisation is how we treat our weakest members. We need to raise our children to be kind”.

David Bartram – reminded us that all parents and educators, everywhere in the world have the same  hopes and dreams for their children. He shared his visits to various countries to consult on SEND provision as the UK are seen as the experts in this field. He outlined the framework and how the SEND audit can be used as tool for system-led improvements in SEND provision through peer review. He posed the following question to the room: We spend 1 Million minutes in school. How are you using those minutes for children in your schools?

“SEND needs to sit at the heart of educational policy, it is not separate”.

“We need to breath some confidence back into the system. Great school-based practice exists. We need to share it”.

“We need to demystify what great SEND practice looks like”.

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Vijita Patel – I have not yet visited Swiss Cottage but  I have heard Vijita speak a lot about the holistic learning experience that they have created for their learning community. Vijita shared the fundamental aim of the Whole SEND review to bring practitioners together. She also championed that a SEND label does not need to define a child’s potential or experience.

“We need to help the wider community to understand the potential of SEND learners. We need to advocate next steps”.

“Sitting at the heart of the SEND Review Guide is the potential of each and every child”.

“We need inclusive values at the core of our schools’ cultures. We need nurture led school provision”.

Edward Timpson – our Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, spoke passionately as a father, not sounding at all like a politician about the vision he has for the system and SEND reform. He highlighted creativity in schools & the potential of best practice feeding through the system. He was very open that many schools are not doing enough for children with SEND.

“We have an opportunity but also a responsibility to make the system work for all CYP with SEND”.

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Round tables and networking:

A series of SEND professionals chaired round table discussions on a series of themes and issues to represent the #collectivevoice of the profession.

I spent the time catching up with: NASEN, The Driver Youth Trust and the Special Needs Jungle – each giving me insight on my responsibility as a Headteacher and school leader to lead inclusively whilst challenging the system.

“You got to see it to be it” Panel:

Simon Knight – set the scene by exploring the contradiction of SEND being highly visible and invisible at the same time, he paralleled the hyper visibility and hyper accountability of PP provision funding and provision to what we need for SEND.

“We need to focus on the needs of the learners and not the needs of the system!”

“Very often there is not a learning difficulty, there is a teaching difficulty  -a barrier for one is a barrier for the other!”

George Fielding – I have heard him speak before and he always moves me. As a Whizz Kid ambassador, an under graduate and the first wheel chair user to achieve his DoE he is an inspiring and empassioned speaker about his rights as “a proud man, a proud Brit and a proud disabled person”.

“Difference and diversity makes Britain the country that it is”. 

“We have to help young people with become proud of who they are”.

“There are four Ls for me – people with SEND can learn, love, and lead but must not be limited”.

Allana Gay – as a founding regional leader for #womened, Allana has recently co-founded #bameed. She shared the data for representation of BAME educators and addressed the issue of inter-sectionality. As a woman, a black woman, a black woman who is an immigrant she shared her frustration at the multiple layers of   her complex identity and the unconscious biases she needs to navigate. She called out the leadership ladder in most schools as “getting paler” the higher you looked. I would add to this that it gets “maler” too.

“London is a melting pot, but too often our teachers do not represent that diversity”.

“With Education management gets paler as you go up the hierarchy. Educator voices do not reflect our communities”.

“In a real meritocracy we all start on a level playing field”.

Myself – I shared our journey as #womened, and the work I have been doing in the Diversity and Equality space through the NCTL funding for Teaching Schools. I questioned who was collating the data and who was reviewing the allocation and the impact of the grants. I invited the audience to consider the language we use as Diversity and Equality are singular terms and are misleading. ‘Diversities’ encompasses multiplicities, complexities and pluralities better.

“There’s a lot being done about diversity – what we need to talk about is diversities”.

“Data shows .5% of teacher have SEND, but the total number of adults with SEND is 20%”. (via Chris Rossiter, Driver Youth Trust)

Jon Severs – as commissioning editor of the TES, shared the work they are doing on representation of voices and experiences in the educational press.  He reminded us that we should not assume SEND knowledge but that we need to support the acquisition of knowledge and debate it, destigmatising it and using layman language to communicate it to a wider audience, more simply.

“The biggest challenge with SEND in the media is its complexities!”

“Need to find language to tell stories about SEND without creating victims”.

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#WomenEd have spent 2 years campaigning for diversity and equality, inclusive panels and to “diminish the differences” in under-represented groups in the education system. Today felt like a big step forward. We have lots more steps to take, there are no quick fixes.

We all need to challenge, we all need to model, we all need to champion, we all need to celebrate the diversities in our classrooms, schools and in our society.

Actions I would like to see as a result of today:

  • A network of SEND leaders and partners to work collaboratively in finding collective solutions to common issues
  • An opportunity for a series of events including one targeting Headteachers and Governors
  • A reform re the requirements of SEND provision for ITT and the skills gap closure for Quality First Teaching across the system
  • A statutory requirement for all schools to have a qualified SENDco and a named SEND lead on every SLT who needs to refresh their training every year like the DSL does for safeguarding practice
  • Hyper accountability for SEND provision in all schools like we have for PP

Seeing this Guardian Jobs advert advocating a diverse workforce on the train on the way home filled me with hope though:

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Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • Challenging our school communities to champion the multiplicity of ‘diversities’ and not just ‘diversity’
  • Affecting change across the system for all learners to enable all to thrive or in George’s words ‘love, learn and lead’ but be ‘limited’ by their learning needs
  • Embedding the value of inclusion into our curriculum at Aureus where we will strive to holistically educate the WHOLE CHILD so that all will be nurtured

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • The #SENDed tweets – catching up the day’s activities
  • Reading Vic Goddard’s blog on inclusion and  ‘botheredness’

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • The brilliant keynotes this morning from Anita, David, Vijita and Edwards Timpson the Minister for Vulnerable Learners
  • The fantastic educators I met today in the audience, the sessions, on the panel and the exhibiting organisations

International Women’s Day 2017: #BeBoldForChange

#IWD17:

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March each year, it is a global celebration of the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women. The theme for 2017 is #BeBoldForChange. Let’s make #IWD17 a day for our students and schools to reflect on the global progress made to challenge gender inequalities around the world. Use the virtual toolkit to focus discussions, reflections and activities.

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#WomenEd:

As a global community that connects existing and aspiring women in education, our aim is simple to support women on their journeys as educators and to collectively challenge some of the systemic barriers that disable women from having choice in their career progression. Our community values champion having courage, working collaboratively and affecting change. This year’s #IWD17 theme really resonates with the #WomenEd community as it is #BeBoldForChange.   The impact of the #WomenEd community is being seen and heard through the testimonials of the educators who have been coached and supported to be #10%braver. Each small step moves us closer to reducing the confidence gap and the pay gap. We are an inclusive community who champion one another’s achievements.

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Collaboration:

Our community partnerships and collaborations across the system are enabling women leading in education to grow their tribe and grow their confidence. We are working with two of our partner organisations, and many of our community, on a virtual toolkit for #IWD17 for educators round the world to access and use in their classrooms.

Action Aid:

ActionAid UK works with women and girls across 45 countries to understand and claim their rights, whether that’s the right to education, to run their own business or to live a life free from violence:

“We believe in supporting girls to understand the power they have to challenge and change the world. This toolkit, curated by #WomenEd, is a fantastic way for teachers to energise the girls in their school to be “10% braver” so we are delighted to get involved”.

We are recording a conversation between women’s rights campaigners Jessica Njui from The Africa Youth Trust in Nairobi, a partner of ActionAid and Caroline Jones from ActionAid UK. They will be discussing the question: ‘How can girls #beboldforchange?’ We’re hoping they will be joined by a surprise celebrity guest! The final video will be posted here for you to access and share: http://po.st/IWD2017

Action Aid are currently seeking questions for the campaigners from girls across the country; please send your questions to schools@actionaid.org with the name, age and school of the girls who asked the questions.

Dauntless Daughters:

To celebrate International Women’s Day Worcestershire-based illustrator Steph Green has teamed up with #WomenEd to produce the #BeBoldforChange Virtual Toolkit: which is available to all educators for free!

When her oldest daughter got interested in space, rockets and astronauts, Steph looked around for images that would reflect her child in this role. “There was nothing, so I drew her myself.” says Steph. From the astronaut it snowballed, with Steph drawing a whole crew of Dauntless Daughters. “After I started to share the illustrations on social Media, Hannah from #WomenEd got in touch and asked if I would like to get involved in the toolkit. We really wanted to give the toolkit some personality and so the character Abbie Bold came to life.”

Steph continues, “Every day our daughters encounter little messages and big signs telling them what to do, what items to wear, and the books to read, reinforcing the supposed limitations of being a girl and which box they have to go in. It is 2017 and we say ‘enough’.”

Meet Abbie Bold:

When Hannah Wilson from #WomenEd spoke to Daniel Wardle from the Action Aid Schools’ Team and Dauntless Daughters’ founder Steph Green about the collaboration, they decided that an avatar to personify the #IWD17 theme would capture the hearts and the minds of the educational community.

Abbie Bold is bold by name and bold by nature. She represents all of the young girls in classrooms around the world with bold hopes and dreams for the future. Dreams of smashing the gender stereotypes of how to behave, what to think and what to like.

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Our Virtual Toolkit:

We asked our contributors to share their motivation for creating a resource to share with the #IWD17 and #WomenEd community:

“I wanted to create resources or vehicles for reflection that would help a group of young girls move forward with purpose and intent. To validate themselves by the thoughts and actions they choose to believe in. I hope they harness the power of perception and look inwards to help them reflect on the future they have the power to create”.  Kiran Satti, primary school teacher, Midlands

 “The resource is designed to get students and even teachers thinking about the importance of women and women as role models. It’s vital that young people have others to look up to and aspire to. Equally, I place importance on them to be able to identify those same qualities and attributes in the everyday ‘real’ people around them so they have ‘real life’ role models to aspire to become”.  Genevieve Bent, Head of Chemistry, London

 “I am contributing to help inspire, educate and inform the female leaders of tomorrow. My resource will encourage wide ranging discussion, airing and challenging stereotypes. I hope it will help students question inequalities they encounter and make bolder choices”. Frances Ashton, secondary school leader, Oxfordshire

“IWD can be just another date in the busy International calendar for teachers to find something interesting to teach. I wanted to contribute to raise the profile of this global issue in an engaging way for the next generation and to help classroom teachers have a resource they can quickly put in place with maximum impact. As a classroom teacher dipping in and finding a resource starts the conversation going about be bold. Sharing how people have used the resource can continue the message. It would be good to ask people to share what they did. Social media is a good starting point, PSHE association may share the link but the Educational press has a far reach meaning maximised awareness of it being available TES and BBC. Sharing the message be bold for change with students helps them realise that they have the ability to change things. This resource enables teachers and students to notice inequality in the world, to consider their opinion and decide upon their response”. Julie Hunter, secondary school leader, Wiltshire

I knew at the age of 14, my passion and destiny was to work in the field of education and invest in next generation leaders.  Everything I do centres around my vision and mission. Use it to define what’s working & what’s not. Strengthen what is working & change what it is not. Acceptance & change are powerful concepts to embrace for all individuals, especially leaders. The resource starts the dialogue in a safe environment.  Hopefully it will equip individuals with the ‘how to’ as well.  It’s all about sowing seeds & enabling them to flourish”. Anita Devi, educational consultant, Buckinghamshire

“Success is driven by expectation and our language can empower or tear down our expectations. By reflecting on and being mindful of the words we use when engaging with challenges. Use the “Reframe: Can’t Don’t and Won’t” video to trigger reflection and discussion with your class or tutor group”. Jaz Ampaw-Farr, educational consultant, Buckinghamshire.

“Based on the Lean In concept of having ‘workplace allies’, the resource hopes to stimulate discussion about how we support, champion and advocate for women in school, group situations and the workplace. It highlights the embedded cultural practices that can hold back or diminish women’s strengths and talents and offers an opportunity to investigate solutions that both women and men can pursue, together. If we can change these habits by highlighting and modelling them with young people as well as adults in schools, then we might be able to break through what we don’t realise is taken for granted as ‘normal’.” Rosanna Raimato, educational consultant, Italy.

 “If we want to improve diversity and equality in terms of leadership in the future, we have to get girls in particular involved in leadership now, while they are forming their ideas about leadership and what it means to them. Our resource is a PowerPoint created by girls aged 7 to 11 to share with teachers based on the girls’ own research. It is a model that schools have used to open up gender equality discussions with staff and pupils. It could support whole school CPD looking at inequality in the classroom or be used as a discussion set of questions for children in PSHW or student council sessions. It is hoped that schools may want to then design and carry out their own questionnaire with their own students”.  Annemarie Williams, Executive Headteacher and CEO, Midlands

 “International Women’s Day is such an important opportunity for all of us, however we identify, to think about how we can be bolder, but also to ask questions about the structures and attitudes which continue to discriminate, particularly against certain ‘groups’ of people. Whose are the voices that are rarely heard in popular debates about feminism? What about those who don’t access the internet? What about the health and income inequalities facing older and/or disabled girls and women (and their families) in the UK, as well as those in other countries? If we want to address child poverty, are we listening to and supporting single mothers? Let’s be 10% bolder, encourage those we teach to be 10% bolder, but let’s also widen and diversify our networks”. Pen Mendonca, Graphic Facilitator, London  

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One of our contributors, Yinka Ewuola reflected on “How to be B.O.L.D for change…”

B is for Belief… Beliefs are absolutely everything. “Whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, you are absolutely right”. What you believe of yourself is everything about your potential, as you are the only one standing in your own way. How you allow the beliefs of others to impact and change the way you feel about your life, possibilities and expectations is just as important: ‘You can’t do that…’ ‘Girls don’t do that…’ They are the limits of others that they are trying to put on you… and no matter the intention – these will harm you. You need to decide what you believe about you, about whether you are going to be, whatever it is you want to be, and then go act on that. Ask ‘why’ (not to others, but to yourself) you can’t, won’t, shouldn’t do the things that you are working to achieve and then set those limiting beliefs aside for new ones… Believe you are worth it. Believe it will be ok. Believe you deserve to be there and have the good things you are experiencing… Believe change is worth choosing and you will do all you can to make it a reality.

O is for One Step Because we are the queens of plans, which means that we try and work out 26 steps ahead, and if we can’t always see exactly where we are going, then you feel trapped and paralysed and confused. But “The journey of 1000 miles, begins with a baby step” – what you need is just one small step in the right general direction. And then another… And then another… Boldness comes from understanding that smaller steps will lead to bigger, brighter places. Hell, even a step in the wrong direction is better than no step at all – action always beats inaction, and you can always course correct in motion – so be bold and take just one step.

L is for Learning and Leading from the Heart Boldness is a heart set… The word Courage is derived from the word  ‘Cor’ which is the Latin word for heart (as Brené Brown reminds us). So what does that courage look like every day? Speaking honestly from our hearts is a great place to start… It’s also about understanding what’s going on with our fear… It’s about understanding that the fear will come… It’s about knowing, expecting it… Because so long as you don’t let those fears stop you. ‘When fear is what you’re feeling (and you’re still doing), Brave is what you are doing’. But learning is so important for boldness… We become bolder after we fail at things (believe it or not) because failure gives us stepping stones for improvements.

D is for Difference See, because even though we are grown up and off the playground – we are still trying way to hard to fit in. And blend in… And to be small, and hidden, and not to noticeable or leery… But we were born to stand out. Boldness comes from understanding that all those things are unique about you are there for the reason you are here… There is nothing more important than making a difference. And the only way to make a difference is to be different. Remember how to be bold for change. Yinka Ewuola, primary school Chair of Governors, London

Please share the free virtual #BeBoldForChange toolkit for #IWD17 far and wide:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1AxQ9bWcYaXSy02UTBEYjVBSjA

The resources are there to provoke thinking and stimulate discussions in your classrooms and schools. Thank you everyone from the #WomenEd community who has contributed.

Other ways to engage with #IWD17:

Blogging:

Contribute to the #BeBoldForChange #Digimeet on StaffRm on Sunday 5th March.

https://staffrm.io/@misswilsey/xqPZu5VJ7I 

Events:

Attend a #WomenEd #LeadMeet for #IWD17 – we have events taking place simultaneously in Bristol, Cambridge, Leicester, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Uffcolme and The Netherlands on 8th March. We also have regional #WomenEd events on March 4th in London, March 10th in Milton Keynes, March 11th in Coventry, March 25th in Leeds. All of our events are free and listed on Eventbrite, just search #WomenEd.

Tweeting:

Follow the hashtags on Twitter: #IWD17 #BeBoldForChange #womened

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Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • The power of collaboration – I met Steph Green, founder of Dauntless Daughters on twitter 3 weeks ago – what we have curated and she has created in 2 weeks is amazing!

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • I have scan read each of the resouces from the #womened community contributors, I now need to go back and reflect on each one

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • The generosity of my #PLN and the #strongertogether spirit of the educators I am connected with.

Networking: Connection, Community, Collaboration

Networking can sometimes be a dirty word for teachers. For the cynics out there we don’t go into teaching to become corporate and to behave as business people do. For the optimists out there, we go into teaching to make a difference – we can do this alone, head down, in our individual classrooms or we can see ourselves as being part of something bigger, contributing to the system rather than a school.  In a lot of other industries networking is an expectation, an opportunity to connect with the community, to communicate what you are doing, to create collaborations. When described like this we see that it is aligned with what we do in education too.

Networking has become a hot topic in education, for those of us who engage in it or those who are intrigued by it. In the last few weeks I have been asked to contribute to several educational events to share my networking story and to encourage others to appreciate the potential power of their Professional Learning Network.

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I think these 3 values embody for me why I network:

Connection:

I meet people who I would not normally connect with. Each connection starts a new professional relationship. Many of these professional connections have grown into personal friendships with people who I would not have met had I not put myself out there. Each connection brings value to me as a person, as a professional but equally brings value back into my school community which will ultimately impact the children. I share my connections and am constantly introducing people who are working on similar projects or who are exploring similar ideas.

Community:

Teaching can be a lonely place if you spend hours in your classroom by yourself. Leading can be a lonely place if you spend hours in your office out of hours, and work in a school where it is them against us. Networking raises you above the local politics and drops you into a space with people who get you, get your situation but who are also seeking different ways of doing things, different ways of working together to find solutions to our challenges.

Collaboration:

This for me is the most exciting bit. Once you have invested in making the connections and grown your community, it is the collaborations that spawn out of this space that create the buzz. Through #womened #bameed #teacher5aday, 3 of the communities who I connect and collaborate with, the opportunities to get involved in things have been endless. A great example of this is the #iwd17 virtual toolkit a group of us are working on for 8/3. Dauntless Daughters, Action Aid, WomenEd and 30 educators contributing a resource each which will then be shared far and wide for others to benefit from.

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Here are my reflections from the events I have been asked to attend and speak at about the Power of the #PLN.

Leading Women’s Alliance #SeizingOpps:

I attended a year ago as DHT, I returned this year as a new HT. Carol and Kate, 2 of the organisers, asked me to share how networking has opened doors and created opportunities for me, personally and professionally. Through Twitter I have met coaches who have helped me to process who I am as a leader and clarify what my vision is. Through reading blogs and finding events to attend through eventbrite  I went to a lot of educational events last year. I met people I knew Twitter for a coffee at these events. One of these coffees was with Jon, my new CEO, he wasn’t recruiting, I wasn’t hunting for a new job but a conversation led to a new door being opened.

#TFAmbassadors event:

The Local Engagement Officers for Teach First London North, South, East and West asked me to speak to the ambassadors about how I have grown my network. I asked them why there were in Dirty Martinis on a Thursday night – was their motivation the free food and drink, or was it the potential connections they would make in the room. I encouraged them to speak to people they did not know in the room, to network beyond their immediate circle of contacts. I challenged them to put themselves out there, to go beyond their comfort zones and to follow up the connections that they made.

#TeachMeetWork:

Naomi Ward is one of our #womened Regional Leaders for the SE. She is doing some work with Portsmouth College and the Apprenticeship team – she asked me to speak   about how networking is a skill that needs to be taught and to address why it is easier for some student groups than others. I referenced the fact that if you are a white middle class man, especially if you attend a private school, that you will have an extensive network of family connections to open doors for you. That you will be able to arrange work placements in the City, in law firms, because you will know someone who knows someone in this space. I reinforced that we need to create these networks for our young people, that we need to remove some of the social barriers and create opportunities for them to make meaningful connections for future collaborations. I cited the example of a school in a deprived part of South London who host networking events, bringing business into the school, to make those introductions and to create those opportunities for the student body.

Diverse Leaders Programme #BAMEed #womened:

We have 3 cohorts of existing and aspiring leaders – 75 brilliant individuals – who are navigating their way around being identified as being from under-represented groups  in the schools’ workforce, finding their career pathway and being inspired/ empowered to fulfill their potential and pursue their dreams. I have led a day with each group before half-term and shared my personal/ professional journey of how investing in networking has impacted my career. We talked at length about the pros and cons, the barriers and the challenges, of being transparent, authentic leaders. We reflected on our whys, considered how to support one another in achieving them and articulated what sort of leaders we want to be. I have felt very proud of each of them being 10% braver and taking their next steps towards their goals.

Teach First Conference – Careers Panel:

Yesterday I was asked to contribute as a new Headteacher to a panel about seeking and securing leadership opportunities. Each of the leaders on the panel had had a different career trajectory but each of us referenced how our networks had supported our growth, we also encouraged the audience to create opportunities for themselves, to put themselves out there and connect with people. We each talked about how we had been recruited and how we were recruiting – with budget issues and a recruitment/ retention issues schools need to be more creative with how they ‘get the people on the bus’ then ‘how they get the right  people in the right seats’. We each networked in different ways but agreed that you need to be proactive and use your initiative.

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So give it a go, come in to the light, push yourself out of your comfort zone, feel the sunshine on your face. I promise you, you will find your tribe of connections who will inspire and empower you. We were all the newbie once and know what it feels like, I encouraged a friend who I trained with to join Twitter this week and she messaged me to say she felt quite overwhelmed at how friendly, genuine, helpful and supportive everyone is in our extended network.

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • Connecting and collaborating with like-minded people

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • I am reading each of the blogs @staffrm by our Diverse Leaders, delighting in their reflections as they find their voice, use their voice and amplify each others voices – check out the blogs #womened and #bameed

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • The amazing connections I have made in the last few years – I am now friends with some brilliant educators who I would not have known had I not invested the time in going to #teachmeets, hosting #leadmeets, tweeting and blogging
  • My memory for names and faces – the more people you meet the harder it is to remember everyone!
  • Carol/ Kate, Naomi, Chris/ Chloe for their invites to speak about my experience of networking
  • Allana/ Paul, Jaz/ Bukky  for their contributions to our networking days

Diversity Matters – My #BAMEed Pledge

Why does Diversity Matter?

I have been involved in a lot of conversations in the last year about the lack of diversity in the education system, especially in leadership. I passionately believe that our school staff bodies and leadership teams should reflect the communities that we serve. #WomenEd has done a lot in the last 2 years to raise the profile of the need for more female leaders. As a community we have identified the challenges and shared some possible solutions. With #BAMEed we are yet to identify all of the systemic barriers and how to counteract them to support BAME educators in their careers.

Why am I collaborating with the DfE?

Through the two teaching schools I was working with at Harris and the one I am now working with at GLF we have successfully bid for 3 Diversity and Equalities Grants to support educators with the hidden characteristics of race and gender progress on their leadership journeys. I am also a volunteer coach for the DfE’s Women Leading in Education pledge. The DfE are funding 80 grants around the country, plus the 8 regional networks. Most of these leadership programmes are focusing on #womened and #bameed.

Why am I speaking at public events about Diversity Matters?

I was invited to speak at the SSAT conference in November about our Diversity and Equalities grants and how we hope to affect change in the system through our leadership programmes targeting women leaders and BAME leaders. The irony was that the conference was held in the diverse city of Birmingham but there was only one person of colour speaking at the conference/ in the programme. I presented to a room of 100+ predominantly white, male Headteachers. The atmosphere in the room was interesting to say the least! I will also be on panels at BETT, Academies Show, Teach 2017 – these discussions are really key to elevate and amplify the issues.

Why am I supporting the Teach First BAME network?

Jess Boyd contacted me last year and asked me to coach her through the above scheme. She had galvanised a group of Teach First teachers who wanted to create a BAME network within the Teach First community. With Ndidi Okezie at the helm of a forward-thinking and outward-facing organisation I knew this would be a ground-breaking opportunity to engage with and to support. I went to the Town Hall meeting in November which was an open forum to launch this network – well done Jess and the team for a thought-provoking event.

Why am I supporting the #BAMEed community?

Allana Gay is a #WomenEd Regional Leader and friend I have made through our activity. Amjad Ali is someone who I have gotten to know through grassroots and CPD opportunities over the last few years. Just like #womened needs our #heforshe allies, the #bameed community needs white allies to help amplify the voices of the under-represented. They have made it very clear from the beginning that the community is very inclusive and collaborative – welcoming anyone who wants to support and contribute to the movement.

Why does #WomenEd care?

Intersectionality is an issue. If you are #bameed and #womened then you double the barriers to overcome to progress as a leader. At our unconference in October we organised a #BAME panel to initiate and elevate the discussions about race. Our panel of high profile educators included @ndidi1st@benniekara@jazampawfarr‍ curated by @equitableed‍ with @angelabrowne@naureen@jopenn@candidagould‍ amongst the audience. As a group we reflected & discussed some of the issues facing women of colour in education. This safe space  incubated the discussion – we processed our thoughts and articulated our concerns/ visions for the system.

Why do we need to talk about representation?

As a result of the discussions at #womened, Cath Murray a journalist from School’s Week contacted me as she was conscious that the 3 articles that came out of our event were written by white men.  She was keen to counterbalance the voices being represented. I moved the discussion on to race rather than gender as we had invited the #heforshe advocates to attend, speak and write to help cascade the message that we need to work together, both genders, to create equality for all. I had initiated the BAME panel as I had had repeated conversations about racial identity.

Cath subsequently wrote and published this brilliant piece on ‘Is Race the Elephant in the Room?’ Read it here: ELEPHANT IN STAFFROOM

Ndidi Okezie from Teach First went on to write this opinion piece on ‘We need to get over the taboo of talking about race’. Read it here: RACE TABOO

Schools’ Week get it – they have done shout outs for mores submissions by women and by BAME so that all experiences are represented. Leadership Matters also get it – I have helped them recruit more BAME leaders to be Ambassadors as they knew they were under-represented. Ross McGill aka Teacher Toolkit gets it and has recently published a list of #101femaleeducators to follow on Twitter. It caused a bit of a stir, despite his best efforts to raise the profile of female tweeters. He will soon be publishing in collaboration with #BAMEed a list of #101BAMEeductors to follow too – it will be interesting to see how this is received in the twitter world.

Why am I reflecting on ways Aureus School can flip the system?

The conversation has only just started and needs to be opened up, we need transparency, we need to challenge the system. Starting up a new school enables me to do things a bit differently. With core values of #wellbeing, #diversity and #equality I need to ensure that we ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’. I don’t want our values to be tokenistic or ‘laminated not lived’. Imagine how disappointed I was then when recruiting my Governors that we initially only received applications from white male volunteers. I am not discrediting their experience and their potential input but I am keen to model a diverse team at every level of the Aureus staff structure.

Challenges and solutions I am creating strategies for (they are still a work in progress):

What are the barriers for BAME teachers?

I am excited that Jess, my coachee, is pitching a PHD to research this as I currently make judgements and increase my understanding based no anecdotal feedback. Through her research and through the Diverse Leaders programme I am curating I will gain more insight in to the barriers – personal and systemic – that are holding BAME educators back.

My pledge is to tweet, blog and speak about my findings to amplify the discussions.

Why do we have so few BAME teachers?

Teaching is not seen as an aspirational profession for some cultures. Schools need to work on their careers guidance to raise the profile of educational careers for all students.

My pledge is to ensure that career guidance at Aureus School crosses some of these cultural barriers.

How can we recruit more BAME leaders?

BAME teachers are in a minority, so the progression of those who do enter the profession represents a small group of teachers and leaders.

My pledge is to ensure that at Aureus School and across the GLF trust that our talent management identifies and nurtures the potential of diverse leaders.

Why do we have a blockage in the BAME leadership pipeline?

BAME teachers seem to leave the system or get caught in the system at middle leadership level. I will continue to research and unpick why this is.

My pledge is to embed unconscious bias training and an equitable talent-spotting system at Aureus.

How can we support & develop BAME leaders on their career progression?

Career planning, development and coaching is something that our profession does not do very well, in my opinion. Through our #womened events and programmes we are addressing this for existing and aspiring women leaders.

My pledge is to volunteer to run practical sessions at #BAMEed events and support those who are writing applications and letters to help them get through the door to interview.

What are my next steps as a systems leader?

As a Headteacher and a leader in a MAT/ TSA, as well as co-founder of #womened I will continue to be part of a growing community of educators who are challenging the system. My first step is the launch of a new blog called ‘Talking Heads’ where I will profile a different Headteacher each week – to share different leadership experiences, identities and trajectories – thus breaking down some of the perceptions of Headteachers. Read it hereTALKING HEADS

I am really interested to continue this discussion and create momentum with a much needed change in the education system. I am excited to part of a movement which will support our #BAME and help to amplify the discussions at events in the coming months.

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • Affecting change for BAME educators, leaders and students.
  • Recruiting a diverse staff of teachers, leaders and governors at Aureus.
  • Creating a culture based on the values of diversity and equality.

Currently reading and thinking about:

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • Amjad Ali and Allana Gay for launching #BAMEed.
  • Jess Boyd for initiating the @TFBAMEcommunity.
  • Ndidi Okezie, Cath Murray and Schools’ Week for amplifying the discussions on race.
  • SSAT for asking us to speak at their conference about Diversity.
  • DfE for funding the Diversity and Equalities programmes.
  • Leadership Matters for acknowledging they needed more diverse ambassadors.

My #Teacher5aday Pledge: 2017

With #wellbeing as a value in our new school community I am keen to embed the #teacher5aday principles in the fabric of Aureus School from day 1. I will strive to model that we can be teachers and leaders but also establish balance in our pursuit of ‘work life harmony’.

I want to see our staff and our students ‘thrive’ and ‘flourish’ by creating the conditions  needed to nurture a #wellbeing culture.

My pledge:

#Volunteer

  • I will continue to drive the growth of our #WomenEd community and support aspiring leaders through the DfE coaching pledge.
  • I will continue in my role as a Primary Governor as it will give me insight in my role as Headteacher of a Year 7 school.
  • I will support the activity of #BAMEed as it is a movement I believe passionately that will affect change in the system, for the better of all.

#Connect

  • I will maintain my relationships with friends and colleagues in London when I move to Oxford.
  • I will get myself out and about in my new area to meet new people through some of the activities I have pledged to continue/ start.
  • I will grow my friendships with the people I spent my summer in  Tanzania with, both the local teachers and the volunteers.

#Learn

  • I will continue reading professional books by teachers and leaders.
  • I will complete my NPQH and build in visits to  Headteachers I have connected with to learn from their experiences a few years ahead of me.
  • I will join a choir as I love music and singing.

#Notice

  • I will start a daily gratitude journal and continue my Happy Moments: Live, Love, Laugh pot to remind myself of all of the fab things in my life.
  • I will explore the benefits of mindfulness.
  • I will go on more walks to explore my new area.

#Exercise

  • I will ride my bike more.
  • I will find a yoga class to join in Oxford.
  • I will go out dancing more!

Happy 2017 everyone! May this year be full of even more love, luck and laughter.

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • Maintaining some of the changes from last year and making more positive choices to impact my lifestyle and #wellbeing this year.

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • Thrive, Arianna Huffington

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • Martyn Reah for the #teacher5aday pledges.
  • Naomi Ward for the #teacher5aday journal.
  • Viv Grant for the #WinterCalendar.
  • Angela Browne for #NourishEd.
  • Maria Alexander for the #HealthyToolkit.