Teachers Like Me: Building a diverse staffroom

Francis Holland School head Charles Fillingham at Teachers Like Me

Francis Holland School head Charles Fillingham at Teachers Like Me - Credit: Francis Holland School

More than 120 senior figures in education came together this month to learn about how to challenge stereotypes and inspire greater numbers of ethnically diverse teachers to apply for leadership roles.

Teachers Like Me, on November 17, was co-hosted by Francis Holland School (FHS), Regent's Park, along with state schools All Saints Catholic College, King Solomon Academy, and St Marylebone CE School.

FHS has offered four sixth-form bursaries to students at All Saints, as well as two to Cumberland Community School, one of the panellists.

Charles Fillingham, headmaster at FHS, said: “Schools have never been more important as powerful agents of change.

“This event shows that schools are determined to play their part in building a more inclusive society without barriers.”

One panel, chaired by David Cohen, investigations editor at the Evening Standard and the Independent, was comprised of political, educational and social experts and decision makers.

Amongst the panellists were Tottenham MP David Lammy MP, the shadow secretary of state for justice and a leading campaigner for Oxbridge to improve access for students from minority backgrounds, and Liverpool Riverside MP Kim Johnson, a member of the education and women and equalities select committees.

David Lammy MP at Teachers Like Me

David Lammy MP addressing Teachers Like Me - Credit: Francis Holland School

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Mr Lammy highlighted the difference between equality and equity, discussing the importance of positive action being needed to be taken in good faith and on merit rather than the use of arbitrary quotas which foster self-doubt and imposter syndrome.

In the other panel discussion, chaired by Ed Dorrell, director at Public First and former deputy editor of the Times Educational Supplement, a panel of five headteachers considered paths into educational leadership.

The panellists included Jaideep Barot, headmaster of Bristol Grammar School, Allana Gay, headteacher at Vita et Pax Preparatory School and co-founder of BAMEed Network, and Omar Deria, head of Cumberland Community School.

Allana Gay discussed the importance of BAME representation in encouraging confidence among students and teachers wishing to advance into leadership positions, saying “if you don’t give people a sense of belonging, their aspirations become tempered”.

Jaideep Barot and Allana Gay at Teachers Like Me

Jaideep Barot and Allana Gay at Teachers Like Me - Credit: Francis Holland School