Tackling race inequality in education
Lewisham is an open borough that celebrates diversity. We have a proud history of standing up to racism and inequalities, from the Battle of Lewisham in 1977 to more recently becoming a Borough of Sanctuary (read more about our Borough of Sanctuary work).
We are committed to tackling race inequalities, which includes work in various services across the Council. Read more about our work to tackle race inequalities.
Important work has started in our schools to tackle race inequalities.
Why is this work needed?
Evidence shows us there are historic, systemic inequalities in the education system – not just in Lewisham, but in London and across the UK.
Statistics show us that certain demographic groups have lower educational attainment and a higher exclusion rate than others.
This has an impact in the future – in particular, young men of Black Caribbean and dual heritage (Black Caribbean/White) often experience poorer educational outcomes.
This shows us that historically, we have been failing certain groups of young people. This is something we cannot ignore, because we want all of our young people to achieve their potential.
We know there are many factors that lead to these outcomes. Education and the wider support that a school community can provide is one of these factors. This is something we can work to improve.
What will the work include?
- Training and workshops in a variety of subjects including unconscious bias, curriculum, reframing relationships with race equity, Migration Stories Arts Project
- Work on building relationships between schools and the communities they serve
- Developing a borough-wide policy on racism for all Lewisham schools to follow
- Working with all schools on decolonising the curriculum and diversifying subjects as much as possible
- Evaluating and measuring the outcomes of the work through surveys and workshops with teachers, pupils and parents.
How does this affect my child?
We know that no single initiative will bring about change, but the changes we introduce will create lasting transformation in the lives of our young people. We know that these improvements to our education system will be beneficial to all Lewisham children, irrespective of their background.
It is likely that a lot of this work will go unnoticed by your child, as it will be ‘behind the scenes’ in terms of teacher training and policy work.
But in time, this will filter down into the language used, subjects studied, books that are brought home, conversations that you are having with your child about their school day. It will ultimately result in a more representative curriculum in Lewisham schools which reflects the diverse community we are proud to be part of.
Who is leading the work?
A steering group is leading the work. The group is made up of:
- deputy head teachers
- school governors
- council officers.
The steering group meets regularly to report on the progress.
Where is the money coming from to fund this work?
Lewisham Learning is funding this project, and it involves all Lewisham schools. Find out more about Lewisham Learning.
What sort of work is already happening?
- All primary and secondary schools in Lewisham have signed a pledge to kickstart the work. You can read the pledge to tackle race inequality in schools here.
- Twenty-three Lewisham schools have already taken part in race and education workshops.
- School governor training on unconscious bias has begun.
- A ‘decolonising the curriculum’ conference for all Lewisham schools is happening in July.
How can I get more involved?
Speak to your school to get involved in the work to tackle race inequalities. They will have a member of staff who is leading on this, and you will be able to have your say and contribute.
An important part of this work is families and schools working together, so if you are keen to get involved please do so.