Stephen Lawrence Day: Time for racial equality in further education

Stephen Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence - Credit: Archant

The topic of race equality is far too often perceived as contentious - but it is one that cannot, and should not, be ignored.

As we commemorate Stephen Lawrence Day, and the incredible work that Baroness Lawrence has carried out, it is crucial we consider the intrinsic importance of education and the necessity of advancing race equality in our education institutions and beyond.

Despite currently living in Hampstead and graduating with a master’s degree from Cambridge University, I originally derive from a working-class, single parent family of Black Caribbean heritage.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence

Baroness Doreen Lawrence - Credit: PA/Peter Byrne

I remember my own experience as an Aston University undergraduate student, and being shocked at how very few students I met of Caribbean ethnicity.

Trailing even further down memory lane, I also remember a large number of my male friends of Black Caribbean heritage not being supported in further education, and eventually feeling pushed to drop out. 

So, it was no huge surprise to read about the lower educational outcomes and hardships experienced by Black Caribbean students, considering that I had witnessed examples of this first hand.

However, the statistics do pinch at a tender nerve.

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How can practitioners label education as the "single most emphatic success story of the British ethnic minority experience", when an entire ethnic group is slipping through our education net?

It is vital that our institutions harness the latest statistics as a catalyst, to place a step ladder under young people of Caribbean heritage - ensuring that they are fully supported to reach their full potential.

None of us win until we all win.

That is why I am so pleased, and proud, to have founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race Equality in Education.

The group is made up of members across both Houses of Parliament, where politicians spanning across different political parties have joined together to push forward one critical cause - the advancement of race equality in education. 

Without doubt, education provides us with the essential tools to progress in life. It has been extraordinary to witness my vision come to reality, and I am honoured to help lead the fight for greater race equality in education institutions across the UK. 

If you would like to engage with the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race Equality in Education, please follow the group on Twitter or Instagram at @appg_reie.

You can also visit our website at 

  • L'myah Sherae is founder and chief coordinator of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race Equality in Education.
L'myah Sherae

L'myah Sherae is founder and chief coordinator of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race Equality in Education. - Credit: L'myah Sherae