So, last week I spent an hour with a Birmingham teacher. I was teaching her about multicultural education, from the first government policy in 1965 onwards, via Coard, Rampton, Swann, to today. I had not prepared anything so it was a case of talking about things in my head, that I had talked or written about over too many years. She lapped it up. She was hungry for every word. She was generous in her response.
Part of me was pleased to be valued by a younger professional in My Hometown, thinking that long after I am gone she would be educating. The other part of me was angry (righteous anger) that, after she had been through teacher training and now had taught in schools for a few years she did not know the basics of multicultural education. Is race equality/education the only area where we do not build on the previous foundations and leave the subsequent generations ignorant through our colourblind policies.
I recall a very senior educationalist (director of education of a multiacademy trust) asking me to explain to her what I meant by ‘under representation’ when I had asked whether their teachers reflected the ethnic minorities in their school. And the forever increasing number of schools who do not even have a working policy on race let alone an action plan.