Anti-racism in FE considered in co-hosted symposium

In May, together with the Black FE Leadership Group (BFELG), the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) hosted a symposium on ‘Leading anti-racism in Further Education: For movement not a moment.’

Inspired by the global Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd, in August 2020 the BFELG wrote an open letter to the government demanding urgent action to address racism in Further Education (FE), particularly the worrying decline in Black leadership in recent years. Responding to the letter, the ETF pledged to help create a genuinely diverse, equal and inclusive workforce and wider culture in FE, working with the BFELG and partners.

A year on, the virtual symposium brought together a diverse group of influential figures and experts from the FE system including sector and other leaders and specialists, researchers, and wider social commentators on race and ethnicity to debate the following 3 questions:

  • How can we ensure that the events of summer 2020 are more than a moment and we deliver movement on the anti-racism agenda?
  • What are the levers to unleash the talent and creativity of everyone in the FE system?
  • What do we need to do to unlock sustainable systemic change in the FE system?

The discussions at the symposium are supporting the ETF in further building the evidence base for continuing EDI action and FE workforce development.

Lord Simon Woolley CBE, a prominent respected political figure, introduced the symposium with former Crown Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal OBE chairing the event’s talks, including from David Russell, Chief Executive of the ETF, and roundtable discussions. The roundtables offered opportunities for participants to engage in in-depth conversations on the three questions posed as well as reflecting on the thoughts and words from the guest speakers.

The ETF and the BFELG are committed to working collaboratively in the coming months to follow up on the themes explored in this symposium.

In February, the inaugural BFELG conference was held. The Conference’s report, Making the Most of an Ethnically Diverse Britain: The Role of Further Education, is available to read as well as information on the BFELG’s 10-point plan – Using the Black Further Education Leadership Group10-point plan.

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