Inspiring Leaders believe that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) should lie at the heart of education. DEI is a core part of our teacher training programme and underpins all areas of commitment including trainee wellbeing, pastoral support, recruitment and our SCITT curriculum.
As a gay teacher, I am acutely aware of the importance of creating safe, inclusive and supportive environments for all. Everyone in a school, whether staff or student, should feel that they belong and that their differences will be embraced and celebrated!
Adam Brett, Redhill Hub Lead
Our DEI conference energises trainees’ passion for DEI in the very first week of the course. All cohorts come together to celebrate the importance of diversity in education and learn from both educators and experts in the field, sharing their insights and lived experiences. The 2021 conference’s incredible keynote speaker was Claire Birkenshaw, who talked to trainees about the vital importance of DEI in schools.
Trainees have the opportunity to attend a variety of electives focusing on different protected characteristics, including sessions by Azuraye Williams looking at Being a Woman in Education and Intersectional Identities and Alex Toft who focused on Disability and Intersectionality.
Building on the conference, each half term trainees attend seminars with experts in particular aspects of diversity such as, Claire Bale who examines Anti Racism in Education and George White who explores Trans Inclusion in Education.
These sessions are designed to explore individual topics in-depth and provide opportunities for discussion, which help to build trainee confidence in addressing DEI in the classroom.
Inspiring Leaders are part of a collaboration of ITT providers in the East Midlands who have all committed to a pledge to ensure trainees and teachers are protected from discrimination, harassment or victimisation due to protected characteristics.
As part of this collaboration, there are half termly networks which all trainees are welcome to attend. This year we have networks for Black and Global Majority (AKA BAME) and LGBT+ trainee and aspirant teachers. These networks provide opportunities for trainee teachers to connect with and listen to authentic voices.
These groups will continue to grow and evolve to include other protected characteristics.
As part of the course, there are opportunities to engage in research projects looking at specific areas of inclusion within schools. Former trainees have found this to be a highlight of the course and a powerful opportunity to begin to affect change in their schools and local contexts.
Examples of investigations by former trainees included topics such as SEND (Special Educational Needs & Disability), Diversifying the Curriculum and Developing Authenticity in the Classroom.
Follow this link to hear Scott’s journey in his interview with Adam Brett our secondary hub lead on his podcast Pride and Progress.
Our DEI programme is designed so all trainees feel inspired through the experiences and learning opportunities that our course provides. Our aim is to empower our trainees and give them the knowledge and confidence to address and embed DEI in their teaching practice.
In doing this we create a golden thread, where trainees can weave diversity, equity and inclusion through all aspects of school life. We believe that all members of the school community should feel they are recognised, safe, respected and celebrated.
We recognise the individual needs of each of our trainees and prioritise support to meet these unique needs. As a partnership of Trusts and Teaching Hubs, we have access to a wide range of professionals and networks, as well as being able to offer one to one advice and support for trainees.
For example, sessions with advice for trainees with families and one to one sessions to talk to current trainees in similar circumstances. For more information about how we support trainee wellbeing please see our Wellbeing page.
I am proud to belong to a cohort that recognises the challenges and who, at the heart of things, want to see a change.
Carina Jolly, Chemistry trainee
We are proud to be working in partnership with Now Teach to support career changers to find secondary teaching courses that are right for them. Now Teach is a charity that finds and supports career changers in their transition into secondary teaching.
Now Teach partner with schools, universities and training providers, support career changers and connect them with a strong professional network to amplify impact and accelerate progress.
In five years, Now Teach has recruited over 500 people who have trained as teachers with 70+ different teacher training providers. The Now Teach network and support has enabled Now Teachers to innovate in secondary schools, bring their experience from industry and apply it in the classroom.
Now Teach offer teacher training advice, opportunities to join professional networks and have a wealth of other resources you will find useful.
One of Azuraye’s great quotes, which will stick with me throughout my entire career, is, “you can’t be what you can’t see.” This is why representation matters. We should expose students to knowledge about who and what they can be.
MaeMae Millichamp, English trainee