If you want to go far, go together!

Working for a forward thinking Multi Academy Trust seeking Educational and Social Change.

Danielle Lewis-Egonu

As a Trust, we know that we are unique!

It’s abundantly clear that the Multi Academy Trust I work within is an outlier and although we celebrate this fact, we want to be the norm and not the exception to the rule.

What makes The Galaxy Trust unique within the Education world?

Well for the past 3 years I, as a Black Woman, have been the Head Teacher of the largest Primary school in the county of Kent and as of September 2020, I will be the Executive Head of the 3 Primary schools within the Trust. One of which, has a male Head Teacher of Black Caribbean and White British descent and one of which, has a Female Head Teacher of Indian descent.

My CEO who I admire and cherish, is an openly Gay White man, who inspires and motivates others through his work with Stonewall and advocacy for children with SEND.

Alongside my CEO, our Chair of Trustees, who is of White British and Asian descent, is thoroughly committed to social change in Education.

Just from the information above it is clear to see what makes us different. Our leadership is diverse and as we all look forward, into how we can endeavour to bring about long lasting change to the Educational Institution, we as a Trust, embody what the future can look like already, through the work we do and have done everyday, to be more inclusive and diverse in our curriculum content and school environments.

How does having a diverse leadership impact on the Education within our schools?

Quite simply we do not shy away from the key topics, in our Governance and Senior Leadership Meetings and this therefore means, Diversity, Equity and Equality are always on our agenda. It’s an extremely exciting, forward thinking environment to work in and I believe this is a clear reflection on how my CEO’s mind and thought processes work and this is why we attract people who embody these values to our schools.

We as a group of people, seek the change that we represent and actively ensure that the children within our Trust benefit from this. Each of our Primary schools are different but all of them have a diverse make up of families which reflect the population within our area and ultimately the country as a whole.

Our Trust values, Respect, Responsibly and Equality emulate this and are interwoven into everything we do.

I am acutely aware of how rare this situation is!

In Runnymede Trust’s 2005 publication, Visible Minorities, Invisible Teachers, the School Workforce Census (2015) showed that people from Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority (non-white) backgrounds comprise 7.6% of the teaching workforce, yet make up 3.1% of headteachers. Only 2.5% of all male headteachers are of Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority origin.

Now compare this to the School Workforce data from 2018

In 2018, there were around 428,100 classroom teachers, 49,500 deputy or assistant headteachers and 22,400 headteachers.

This data shows that:

  • White British people accounted for 92.9% of headteachers, 89.7% of deputy or assistant headteachers and 85.1% of classroom teachers (out of those whose ethnicity was known)
  • 0.1% of classroom teachers were Mixed White and Black African, the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups in this role
  • 0.1% of deputy and assistant headteachers were from the Mixed White and Black African, and Chinese ethnic groups, the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups in this role
  • White Irish was the only other ethnic group (as well as White British) with a higher percentage of headteachers (1.8%) than deputy or assistant head teachers (1.7%) or classroom teachers (1.5%)

It is clear that very little has changed across the workforce across 3 years.

So if we are the Rosetta Stone and have cracked the code, why don’t we just relax, continue and stay hidden away?

When you are alone you have two options:

  1. Sit back and become insular, don’t rock the boat and keep doing what you are doing quietly.

Or

  1. You can share knowledge, help others seek to understand how change comes about, walk the lonely path and hope that others join.

It’s hard to be the first, there is no doubt about it!

Not everyone is open minded, not everyone wants change and reform but the African Proverb says it best, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.

We have already started work on our Galaxy Trust Pledges for 2020-2021 because we always seek to do more and do better.

My CEO’s passion for social change is tangible and we are doing extensive work around:

  • Our pledge for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Families
  • Our pledge for Looked After and Previously Looked After children
  • Our pledge for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • Our pledge for children eligible for Free school meals and pupil premium
  • Our pledge for different families including LGBTQ

Everything starts at leadership level and has to be a conscious effort. This blueprint for education reform is the same for a small village Primary school in Yorkshire to a large Secondary school in London.

Change does not happen by itself, it comes from strategic action steered by groups filled with a diverse range of people.

If you would like to learn more about The Galaxy Trust and the work we do, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Trust Website: www.galaxytrust.co.uk

Danielle Lewis-Egonu: Twitter @dee_delo 

Garry Ratcliffe: Twitter @garryrat​

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