In exams, the lowest attaining students are the Gypsy/ Roma and Irish travellers followed by those of Black Caribbean background. In order to close the achievement gap, we must have diverse representation in leadership and teaching roles to help raise children’s aspirations and tackle education inequality. Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff help to bring cultural diversity into schools, reflect children's life experiences and perceptions and represent local communities and society at large.
In order to tackle the current lack of diversity in leadership teams and guarantee your team is representative there are a few actions you can put in place.
One of the key reasons BAME teachers aren’t taking on leadership roles is due to a lack of confidence. Without proper representation in leadership, they are unable to see themselves in these roles. Luckily this is easy to address. Ensure you are empowering and supporting participants to apply for promotions through shadowing or mentoring programmes. Furthermore, there are a plethora of leadership networks focused on diversity and inclusion that either you or your potential leaders can join for support, for example, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) who have regular meetings.
You may also want to customise your school's vision and strategy. By putting diversity at the forefront of your school’s vision you are showing that it is of the utmost importance that your staff represent this, you should also highlight that this message of diversity comes from the top and is heavily endorsed. Furthermore, during the interview process, subconscious bias may present itself as an issue when trying to create a more diverse leadership team. To counteract this you should ensure your school provides training for unbiased interviewing and selection processes or establish connections with recruiters, like us.
During our years of experience in the education sector, we have seen the positive effect higher levels of representation in leadership roles can have on children and can see how important it is to have open and multidirectional conversations about race and diversity when you are trying to encourage diversity within your team. Currently, 10.5% of our candidates are from the BAME community and 20% of our candidates are male, we are always working towards creating a more diverse bank of candidates who align with our values; integrity, trust and flexibility.
Our full consultation process includes expert advice on diversity and soft skills recruitment methods. We currently use and encourage a structured interview video process, at the IHR Diversity and Inclusion virtual conference 44% of respondents thought video interviewing was good for ED&I. This methodology allows for interviews to be recorded which means that if recruiters display discriminatory behaviour you are able to address the problem directly. Furthermore, as we recruit for schools across the UK, the structured interview video process allows us to interview candidates without the traditional limitations of geographical location, which means you will have access to a wider and more diverse candidate pool.