Black Voices - Leadership - Equity and Inclusion
An inclusive society is a happier society, with less inequality, greater fairness and a welcome breadth of thinking. British society has a long way to go here and all our schools can be part of that journey, regardless of their setting. We just need to make sure our schools are fully inclusive too.
This is the mission of Rhia Gibbs, formerly a secondary teacher and middle leader in an inner-city school, the founder of Black Teachers Connect and one of Independent Thinking’s inspiring New Voices.
With a background in youth work, her experience in schools and now working in diversity and change management, Rhia has seen for herself the many ways in which teachers of colour can be turned off their careers in a professional environment that still has so few educators - and even fewer leaders – of colour.
It was when she was applying for her PGCE and wanted to connect with other educators of colour that she realised such a network did not exist, which is why she chose to set up Black Teachers Connect. She wanted other Black teachers not to have face alone an education system with its institutionally racist challenges like she did.
A mission that is all the more important when research suggests that 53% of BME educators do not see themselves in the profession in the next five years.
"For students of colour in classrooms today, they need to see someone like themselves as their teacher."
Recent titles include:
- What does equity and diversity look like in schools today
- Diversity, equality and managing change
- The experience of the Black teacher in UK schools - and what to do about it
Since then, she has built a community of Black teachers across the UK and globally to provide networking opportunities, advice, CPD and support and to help all schools who are genuinely committed to inclusivity and addressing prejudice in whatever form it might take. She does not work by blaming or shaming but through highlighting issues in a positive way, asking the difficult questions and always challenging schools to be better for all members of their community.
Apart from her work commitments supporting businesses as they change to become fully inclusive and diverse, Rhia also works alongside teachers and leaders to help them navigate issues around racism, bias and microaggressions with a focus on how to create truly diverse spaces where everyone can thrive.
She has also written for Foundation Stage Forum, Diverse Educators and Schools Week and is about to embark on a book for the Independent Thinking Press.
We are delighted to support Rhia as she speaks out on this important subject, supporting teachers and school leaders to make meaningful change happen, wherever they are on this journey. It is a topic where everyone stands to gain if we get it right, but this will only happen when we are honest enough to face up to the challenges we have and to do something about them.
That instagram live was so good - too many gems were dropped!
This was a great event and I was so glad to be able to attend. Thank you for hosting it!
Really motivating speech and delivered in a succinct clear way with key takeaways
She really set the tone for the day, honest, powerful and unapologetic
Her talk was inspiring and gave much food for thought. Keynote was just the right length and visuals were also helpful
Rhia Gibbs In Her Own Words
'I WANT YOU TO THINK: HAVE YOU HAD A BLACK TEACHER IN THE PAST?
WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR YOU? DO YOU REMEMBER THEIR
NAME? DO YOU REMEMBER HOW THEY MADE YOU FEEL?'
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