What we are talking about...

How the Diverse Leaders Programme is helping develop the next generation of BAME Leaders Rss

How the Diverse Leaders Programme is helping develop the next generation of BAME Leaders

Posted on: November 15th 2019

Developing pedagogy, teaching and leadership skills is a constant and ever changing focus at Harris. With a track record of school improvement and academic excellence, developing our staff and practitioners from across the industry is at the heart of our vision. Our Teaching School Alliance is the professional development centre for the Harris Federation, providing high-quality training to schools and academies in and around London. The Teaching School delivers a range of Outstanding bespoke programmes designed to cater to all levels of teaching and school leadership.

Two Harris Academies have been awarded Teaching School status, Harris City Academy Crystal Palace and Harris Academy Chafford Hundred. Both Teaching Schools work collaboratively with academies from across the Federation to facilitate the programmes on offer and make up the Harris Federation Teaching School Alliance. Across the two sites, the Teaching school is licensed to run a range of programmes, led by some of the most talented principals in the country and delivered by high-performing executive, middle and senior leaders with exceptional track records.

We are keen to work with more schools to share tried and tested practices, designate Specialist Leaders of Education and offer high-quality training opportunities to teachers.

In the spotlight: Diverse Leaders Programme at Harris City Academy Crystal Palace

Harris City Academy Crystal Palace Teaching School has been an established part of the Harris Teaching School Alliance for a number of years, delivering a varied library of subject specialist, leadership and safeguarding courses. The programmes available at the Teaching School site are  designed to enrich and upskill teachers of all leadership levels.  Led by informed, specialist practitioners from a host of teaching and industry rich backgrounds, Harris City Academy Crystal Palace Teaching School provides a multitude of opportunity to both internal and external applicants.

Over the past 4 years, Harris Academy Crystal Palace has been running the Diverse Leaders Programme. Funded by the DfE’s Leadership, Equality and Diversity Fund, this bespoke CPD programme has been designed to identify and nurture BAME leadership talent as part of the Teaching School’s many development and support opportunities. Here Natasha Evans, Head of Harris City Academy Crystal Palace Teaching School, discusses the success the programme has had so far. 

“A school’s leadership should reflect the profile of the students in the classroom but while this is often true of teachers, support staff and middle leadership, there is a real lack of diversity within schools’ senior leadership.

We’ve been running the Diverse Leaders Programme since 2016 to tackle this issue. It is open to teachers from around London and aims to equip BAME colleagues with the confidence to take their next steps in their careers – whether that’s applying for senior leadership or headship positions.

As in previous years, the 2019 programme consists of six sessions and three one-to-one coaching sessions per participant. It is completely free and equates to around £1200 of training. We’re fortunate to have a number of inspirational authors, motivational speakers, leadership experts and senior leaders involved in the programme, including Viv Grant, Karen Giles, Jill Berry and Diana Osagie.

At Harris City Academy Crystal Palace, prior to the launch of this scheme, the senior leadership within our school was not as diverse as it is today. Now, three years on, we’re delighted that many participants of the programme have gone onto leadership positions within the Federation. For example, here at HCACP alone we’ve had three colleagues take on Assistant Principal positions.

Some people enrol of on course because they want to be promoted to a more senior role, but for others, it is about gaining the support network, confidence and skills to take that next step at a time that’s right for them. We want our participants to really understand their core values and have a clear vision of the leader they want to become. So, while the programme places emphasis on practical skills, like interview practice and career planning, it is also heavily centred on providing support and mentorship. To this end, a key theme of the course is wellbeing and resilience.

One of the greatest things about the programme is the support networks that have grown from it. Many of our participants stay in touch with one another and continue to provide encouragement and celebrate each other's successes long after the course comes to an end. It is also playing a significant role in ensuring BAME teachers are retained within the profession – a high percentage of teachers entering the programme said they were considering leaving teaching but this number dramatically decreased after completing the course.

Ultimately, the greatest effect of the programme is that there is a growing number of students who have role models and leaders who they can aspire to. We are looking forward to welcoming our fourth group of teachers in January and – as ever – watching their careers soar.”

Committed to upholding best practice across the Federation

As part of our responsibility to equip the next generation of school leaders with support, training and skill development, an integral part of this means embedding our visions and values for better schools in our programmes. The Diverse Leaders Programme is a testament to our dedicated approach to ensuring best practice in equality, diversity and inclusion across the Federation. Facilitating a important and relevant discussion about BAME Leaders and understanding its’ importance amongst schools means centering the narratives and dialogues present amongst BAME teachers both in and out the classroom. In running the Diverse Leaders Programme and others like it, we hope to continue an ever-changing discussion on the importance of recognising BAME school leadership.

To learn more about Harris City Academy Crystal Palace Teaching School opportunities, click here. To learn  more about the Harris Teaching School Alliance, click here. Connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and stay up to date with all things Harris Careers!

Meet Our People