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Why Representation Matters in Primary Schools - Part I

Associate and founder of Black Teachers Connect, Rhia Gibbs, on why our schools need to be more representative and diverse to better reflect our multicultural society

I want you to take a moment and to ask yourself three questions:

  1. Growing up – were you ever the minority in your class?
  2. Growing up – did you have teachers that looked like you?
  3. How did the above make you feel about your education and what you can achieve?

For me, I was always the minority in every classroom and I rarely had a teacher that looked like me. Through my entire school career, I only ever came across two Black and one Asian teachers. I have never had a Black or ethnic minority headteacher, either then as a student or now as a teacher.

As I never got to see myself represented in the teaching profession, it meant that teaching was never seen as a profession to aspire to.

At college, however, I had two Black teachers and they changed my outlook on life, on education and how I could be suvcdsseful being me.

I am now a teacher of older students, young people who have navigated much of their education already, many of whom will have formed a stereotype of what a teacher or headteacher looks like, many of whom have ruled out teaching as an option because they can’t see themselves represented in the teaching staff.

This is worrying and I have often asked myself what the solution could be.

I have come to the conclusion that the only way we can change things is if we build representation into every stage of the education system, including early years and primary school. A more culturally diverse education system can only do good, it can only serve to bring together a more diverse amount of thought, ideas, and experiences to create an education system which truly values everyone in it.

Click here to go to part two.

This blog first appeared on the Foundation Stage Forum website.

Rhia Gibbs

Rhia Gibbs

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About the author

Rhia Gibbs

Rhia Gibbs

One of our newest Associates, Rhia an experienced teacher and middle leader and founder of Black Teachers Connect. She is committed to helping schools become more diverse and inclusive to ensure equality of opportunity for staff as well as students

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