We know that racism (intentional and unintentional) and racial inequality continues to exist, and we firmly believe that we, as an organisation and as individual members, must play a role in actively addressing this within the educational sector. It matters for the health, well-being and futures of our members, their staff and the pupils and communities that they serve.
NAHT commits to putting an anti-racist approach at the heart of our work; this means acknowledging, challenging and effectively addressing all forms of racism and racial inequality wherever we find it, both collectively and individually.
We know that doing so will not always be easy; for this to have true impact we must be willing to question our own roles in the system, both as an organisation and as individuals. We will need to acknowledge times where we may have got things wrong, or failed to improve our own understanding and awareness of the scale and impact of the current situation.
It will also require clear action, not just rhetoric.
This means committing to improving our understanding, awareness and action on the systemic racism and inequality that is experienced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic children, staff and school leaders. We hope that the You Are Not Alone: Leaders for Race Equality
book, supported by NAHT, is a positive first step in doing so. We will ensure that this is underpinned by the recognition that individuals from ‘Black, Asian and minority ethnic’ backgrounds are not one single category, but rather, people from a range of backgrounds, races and religions, each with their own unique challenges and experiences.
We know school leaders have a unique and vital role to play in this work. From the overarching ethos of schools to the detail of the curriculum, their educational leadership has the power to help bring about the change we need to see. We will work to support and empower all of our members to feel confident in adopting an anti-racist approach in their own schools; ensuring they have the understanding, knowledge and resources required to effectively embed an inclusive approach within their schools for all staff and pupils.
As a profession we also need to be prepared to hold a mirror up to ourselves. We know that the profession is not yet representative of the communities we serve, and that this is a particular issue at senior leadership level. We commit to addressing this issue head-on; collaborating with the sector and our partners to build on our current commitments to ensure we play our part in helping further equality, diversity and inclusion in the sector
. We will also use our voice and standing in the sector in order to press for greater change and support from government on this critical issue.
And as a union, we must also be prepared to challenge ourselves by identifying and resolving issues of inequality within our own structures. This includes reviewing our processes and policies, supporting the growth of our equality networks and seeking new ways for members to engage with the democracy of NAHT.
We also know the NAHT has a role to assess its own internal culture and commitment to anti-racism, and to lead by example. To this end we have begun to review our policies and procedures, and are seeking to provide training for staff in areas such as ‘unconscious bias’.
We acknowledge that this is a journey and will take time. To be truly effective it must be embedded as part of our work developing a full equality, diversity and inclusion action plan which will be focused on achieving and monitoring sustainable change for NAHT. We will use the insight and challenge from the members of our Leaders for Race Equality network
to guide us in this endeavour.
We encourage and support all our members and the wider profession to join us in this journey.