‘The Best Man for the Job’ Vs ‘If we can’t see it. Can we be it?’

As a person of colour, I am always astounded with the lack of representation in schools on all levels. BAME teachers make up 10% of the workforce but less than 3% of Headteachers nationally.

What is the business case for diversity? Well, the McKinsey report delivering through diversity 2018 states,

‘The relationship between diversity and business performance persists.

The statistically significant correlation between a more diverse leadership team and financial outperformance demonstrated three years ago continues to hold true on an updated, enlarged, and global data set.’

The report goes on to state that gender diversity in leadership roles matter. Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21% to outperform on PROFITABILITY. This is the kicker, Teams which were ethnically diverse had a 33%more likely to have industry-leading profitability.

Women in leadership moderate extreme behaviour and improve risk awareness (Grant Thornton 2017) and are more questioning (Liswood, L (2015);

Diversity and inclusion are not about being nice, or actually, only about even being fair, there is a business case which directly impacts on profitability.

Companies with the most ethnically diverse executive teams are 33% more likely to outperform their peers on profitability (Hunt et al (2018); Companies with inclusive talent practices in hiring, promotion, development, leadership, and team management generate up to 30% higher revenue per employee. (Stacia Sherman Garr et al 2015); 

What is the impact on our pupils?

If we can’t see it, we can’t be it.

Lenny Henry


Gershenson et al examine the impact of black pupils having black teachers during their schooling, they found that there is a correlation with those pupils enrolling for college/university education.

Black students who’d had just one black teacher by third grade were 13% more likely to enrol in college – and those who’d had two were 32% more likely. The finding, led by Johns Hopkins University and American University researchers, was circulated in a working paper today by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

If all examples of success you see are different to yourself. Can you really see yourself in that position? If pupils look at the structures within their own schools and see leaders in their ivory tower, with the emphasis on the ivory, who don’t look like them or act like them, will they aspire to these positions or even success?

Thank you

This blog coupled with the ethnocentric curriculum (see the previous blog) really doesn’t bode well for pupils of any of the protected characteristics. However, sometimes all of us need to take our wins, sometimes we need to a step back and concentrate on the micro progressions (magpied from @samsmethers). Those small wins, the fact people hesitate and think before they make a microaggression is a win.

This is a message those of us who own those protected characteristics. Our very existence is an act of rebellion, it is a political act whether you like it or not. You buck the trend, you show all the pupils that we can, and we will. 

Yes, this can be and is exhausting. Guess what? It’s awesome and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  All of you. Thank you. 




Photo creidt: https://birminghameastside.com/you-cant-be-what-you-cant-see-bcu-chancellor-sir-lenny-henry-delivers-words-of-wisdom-to-school-of-media-students/

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