Dr Adam Brett

Anyone who has read the ITT core content framework would be forgiven for not knowing what diversity, equity, and inclusion, or the term DEI, is.

A glib comment, perhaps, but one highlighting that a framework drawing upon ‘the best available evidence’, which is less than three years old, has almost no discussion of DEI. Our teachers are trained to be experts in cognitive science, questioning and modelling, yet not experts in creating inclusive classrooms for all.

As a gay teacher who went to school during Section 28, I am acutely aware of the profound damage a lack of inclusion has. It is often said in education that you can’t be what you can’t see, and so for an entire generation of LGBT+ young people the only thing we could be was silent and invisible. While things have improved since then, there remains a long way to go.

In Stonewall’s most recent school report, the charity identified that 22% of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people have attempted to take their own life. This number increases to a harrowing 45% for trans young people. I highlight these facts not to shock, but to identify that although most schools claim to have inclusive cultures, this may not always be the case.

Change is slow, but we need to ensure tomorrow’s teachers are prepared to support and celebrate the diverse range of students that we have the privilege of teaching. All students in our schools need to see a place for themselves not just in our classrooms, but much more importantly, within the world. This is surely our moral obligation as teachers.

We cannot claim our classrooms and schools as inclusive without understanding the lived experiences of the people we teach and the colleagues we work with. Teachers require expert training to understand the ways in which people from protected characteristic groups need supporting, including, and celebrating.

As part of our SCITT programme, trainees complete a research project looking at different areas of inclusion. One group from last year’s cohort decided to analyse the representation of LGBT+ and Black and Global Majority people in their subject curriculums. Shocked with what they found, they prepared and delivered a presentation to their cohort explaining that it is time to “pull the SWORD (Straight, White, Old, Rich, and Dead) out of the Stone Age curriculum”.

Not only a delightful piece of wordplay, but the presentation identified the absolute importance of us stopping and questioning what we teach in our classrooms. Teaching is such a busy and demanding profession that it is all too easy to forget what we teach students through the hidden curriculum. What are we subconsciously teaching our students about who does and doesn’t deserve to be seen and heard?

This year our SCITT has worked hard to put a stronger emphasis on DEI, creating a programme called #InspiringDiversity (https://inspiringleadersscitt.com/dei/). The purpose of the programme is twofold: firstly, to allow aspirant teachers to see there is a place for themselves in the profession, and that teachers of all backgrounds are welcome and celebrated. Secondly, that teachers feel equipped to confidently embed DEI in their classrooms and curriculums.

As part of the #InspiringDiversity programme, we begin the year with an amazing conference, where trainees hear from an inspirational and diverse range of speakers from the worlds of education and academia. This is positioned at the start of the year to highlight to trainees how important DEI is, and that it should be a golden thread that runs throughout their training year and future career. The conference is followed up with half-termly twilights from a variety of speakers, looking at different protected characteristics, with a focus on vocabulary, rights and responsibilities, and practical ways in which we can make our classrooms more inclusive.

The programme has been incredibly well received and the impact it has had on trainees and their practice has been phenomenal. One of our trainees is in the process of a writing a blog to describe their experiences of the programme, which we look forward to sharing soon.

Due to the success of the programme, we will be delivering the conference and six twilights again in 2022-23 and are delighted to be able to invite other SCITT providers to be involved. The online conference will take place on 23rd September, followed by half-termly twilights. The programme is suitable for both primary and secondary trainees, and session recordings will be available for a period of time after each event.

The cost of the programme is £500 for cohorts of up to 100 (quotes for larger cohorts can also be provided). If you would like more information about the #InspiringDiversity programme, or would like to book on, please contact me directly on a.brett@theredhillacademy.org.uk.

Dr Adam Brett is SCITT Hub Lead for Redhill Secondary SCITT, part of Inspiring Leadershttps://inspiringleadersscitt.com/. Adam co-hosts a podcast called Pride and Progress, which looks at the progress of LGBT+ inclusion in education.

 @DrAdamBrett, @ILSCITT, @prideprogress, @RedhillHub




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