The publication of the Report of the Macpherson Inquiry into the murder of a young Black man, Stephen Lawrence, saw a sea change within public institutions in the prevailing attitudes towards race equality. Since that publication in 1993, we have seen great strides in legislation that are creating a better and more equal society. The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 places a positive duty on schools and other public authorities to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and recognise the implications for racial equality in all their activities. Similarly, the Learning and Skills Act 2000 gave the LSC a statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity in the delivery of education and training. This is reflected in all areas of our work, and is specifically set out in our Race Equality Scheme.

Our sector’s workforce must reflect the diversity of society. We need more Black managers, at all levels, and more Black Principals. We must meet the challenges set by the Commission for Black Staff in Further Education, which found that, for instance, less than one per cent of college Principals were Black.

The Black Leadership Initiative that is the subject of this report is part of that change. The idea of a national initiative that would take practical actions towards promoting better opportunities for Black and minority ethnic staff in FE was suggested to us by a group of national organisations, colleges, representative groups and individuals, who came together voluntarily following the Commission’s report. We welcomed their innovative approach of secondments, mentoring and work-shadowing opportunities for Black staff.

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