Schools in Liverpool are to share anti-racist knowledge and best practice through a dedicated network, in a ground-breaking new partnership between Liverpool City Council and Leeds Beckett University.
It will be led by the Centre for Race Education and Decoloniality (CRED), based within the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University.
It forms part of the Council’s commitment to promote and enhance racial equality and diversity within the city’s education system, and follows the appointment last year of Paul Olubayo, the council’s first education race equalities officer.
Leeds Beckett University has been chosen because of its track record in delivering the unique programme.
Through the scheme, professionals from all schools and colleges within Liverpool will be able to attend professional learning programmes aimed at transforming the institutional culture and structures for schools in the city.
Planned content includes sessions to examine how to challenge racism in all its forms, how to develop anti-racist policy, to improve racial literacy, and to develop colleagues’ knowledge and understanding of race and racism in education to establish racial equity within schools.
The aims of the new training programme are:
- To work collaboratively with schools to develop their knowledge of race and racism
- To develop a professional network for senior leaders, to showcase and share good practice with other schools
- To coordinate activity with the council, and tailor support to address racial issues arising locally
- To plan and implement an equality and diversity policy and plan for schools which is race cognisant and helps build a diverse workforce which engenders a sense of belonging and safety for all staff of colour
- To support the professional development of school staff with respect to race and racism
Training will be made available to all schools in Liverpool from September 2023.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said: “We want our schools to be places that reflect the diversity of cultures in our city, including by providing the right environment for people of all backgrounds to take on leadership and governance roles in schools.
“I’m really proud of this initiative, and this piece of work. It’s about professional development and resources to tackle institutional bias, to promote anti-racism and to tackle discriminatory behaviour.”
Rachel C. Boyle, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University, said: “This is a ground-breaking moment in Liverpool’s educational history.
“To tackle racism through education is the most important way to start to dismantle the problem and is incredibly important to Liverpool.
“Liverpool is a city built on the principles of diversity and community and as someone who was born, grew up and worked as a teacher here, I am delighted to see the level of commitment currently demonstrated by the council to anti-racist education. I’ve never seen a commitment to anti-racism that is as powerful as this movement.
“The city is definitely ahead of other cities in pioneering this work and we are incredibly honoured to work with the city on this journey.”
Professor Vini Lander, Director of CRED, said: “I am delighted that colleagues at CRED will be working with schools, senior leaders and teachers in Liverpool to support their journey to becoming anti-racist schools where all students, including those from the Black and global majority can feel safe and thrive educationally and personally.
“We are looking forward to working with colleagues in Liverpool.”
Cllr Tomas Logan, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills added: “What we want is to create an education system where every school in this city can honestly say that every child feels at home, feels a belonging in that school and can flourish and thrive.”