Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
At the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership, we are passionate about Diversity - seeing difference in all its forms celebrated - and about Justice. We believe that all within our education system should flourish, both pupils and adults, and are committed to overcoming the barriers which prevent this. We are particularly focused on pursuing justice for those who are disadvantaged, marginalised or overlooked on the basis of their race, gender, economic background, sexual orientation or disability.
'An authentic Christian vision for living well together is one that is scandalously inclusive: where all are welcomed, and where every leader gets to play a part. Leaders should not seek diversity and inclusion just because it is the correct thing to do, we should pursue it and chase it down because it is inherently better.' (Called, Connected, Committed - Celebrating Diversity)
CEFEL is committed to delivering on the recommendations of Lament to Action, in recognition of the urgent and vital work that needs to take place in addressing issues of Racial Justice.
Here you will find out about the different ways in which we are proactively 'chasing down' diversity and inclusion in our work with dioceses, MATs and schools.
International Leadership of Diversity Network
In 2020-21, we piloted a network between school leaders in the USA and in England, specifically looking at leading improvements in Diversity and Inclusion. The group comprised of Diocesan leaders, MAT leaders and headteachers all seeking to make changes within their context with regards to Racial Justice. Our US partners were connected with us through Baylor University. To support our England-based network, we worked with Allana Gay, founder of BAMEed, and Deborah Barnett from charity TLG. 9 diocese from across the country were involved in this work (Bath & Wells, Blackburn, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Lichfield, Lincoln, Norwich, Southwark. Truro)
This network catalysed several work streams - including a Theological Framework for the curriculum, an emerging accreditation system for dioceses, events, forums and symposiums looking specifically at Racial Justice, and proactive approaches to Recruitment and Retention.
In 2021-22, we will continue to run cohort 1, and add a second cohort of a further 9 dioceses (Birmingham, Chester, Hereford, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Portsmouth and Winchester, St Albans, York). We will also be connecting with partners beyond the UK and USA, to broaden our outlook even further.
We are already taking expressions of interest for Cohort 3 (September 2022). Network participants, along with other diocesan colleagues and member of the Education Office, have also undertaken the Education Equity Services ILM accredited Diversity, Equity and Inclusion course with Professor Paul Miller leading to a formal award at Associate Level.
Called, Connected, Committed Mailouts
Over the past year, CEFEL has been collecting resources and curating content (including podcasts) to support school leaders in their pursuit of Racial Justice.
Editions with a specific focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion include:
We are committed to ensuring our mailouts reflect the full diversity within our education system, and support school leaders in celebrating difference within their own contexts.
Theological Underpinning of the Curriculum
The Education team have been working on a Theological Framework for Racial Justice, with the aim that schools would use this to underpin their whole curriculum. We would heartily encourage the use of example units which celebrate diversity or ask challenging questions about approaches to difference. However, it is key for us that schools see justice as a key theme running through every aspect of the curriculum - from text choices to artists to historical perspectives to the impact of climate change on our global neighbours.
The theological framework ensures progression through phases (from EYFS) which scaffold pupils' understanding of Racial Justice using key theological concepts already taught in Church of England schools.
The Framework is included in Lament to Action, and has been developed with feedback from the CofE Racial Justice Taskforce.
We currently have schools from the dioceses in our Diversity Network who are exemplifying the framework, so that we can publish both the framework and examples of it in use in September 2022. If you are interested in hearing more about this work, please contact Emily Norman, Head of Partnerships and Inclusion.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan and Accountability Board
We have set out our intended outcomes for the next 5 years (2021 - 2026) in seeing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion firmly embedded within our education system. This plan is currently in consultation with the Education Office team, CofE Racial Justice Task Force and our critical friends.
We are creating a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board to monitor the progress of the plan and hold us accountable for our actions. The board members are a diverse mix of Education Office staff, diocesan staff, school leaders and critical friends. We will publish the full list of board members once they are all confirmed.