1st Edition

Unity in Diversity: Achieving Structural Race Equity in Schools

By Rachel Macfarlane Copyright 2023
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    A third of all children in our schools are from racially minoritised backgrounds. Yet the data on attainment, exclusion, progression and representation indicates that our education system is structurally racist. Unity in Diversity explores the unconscious biases at play in our schools and demonstrates how educators can address this by improving representation in the curriculum, staffroom and on the governing/trust board. Drawing on case studies from leaders, this book demonstrates what schools are already doing to create an impactful anti-racist ethos and how these strategies may be applied in practice.

    Written by an experienced headteacher who has supported a diverse range of schools in improving their race equity, each chapter addresses a different aspect of race inequality and provides practical strategies for overcoming it. This book empowers readers:

    • To acknowledge that systemic race inequality exists in schools and that this necessitates an anti-racist approach
    • To become comfortable talking about race and to create safe spaces for staff and students to engage in discussions about race
    • To address unconscious biases and white fragility and to examine the inequality and underrepresentation of ethnic groups
    • To audit all aspects of educational provision to determine what needs to change and to action and implement this change with lasting impact.

    Schools and teachers can play a major role in eliminating systemic racism in society. This book is an essential read for any teacher, leader, governor or trustee who is restless to address race inequity in our education system, creating a more equal and represented school community.

    Part One: Race inequity in education;  1. The problem laid bare;  2. Experiences of being a child of colour in an English school;  Part Two: Developing racial literacy;  3. The unique and critical role of the leader;  4. The power of language;  5. Confronting assumptions, biases and privileges;  6. Addressing the effects of stereotyping;  Part Three: The Curriculum;  7. Getting ready to diversify and decolonise the curriculum;  8. Taking steps towards an anti-racist curriculum;  9. Selecting books and resources;  Part Four: Recruiting, retaining and developing a diverse body of staff, governors and trustees;  10. Recruitment;  11. Retention of staff of colour;  12. Development and promotion of staff of colour;  13. Conclusion


    Rachel Macfarlane, previously a teacher with over 30 years of experience, is currently a trainer, author, and Director of Education Services at HFL Education. She was a headteacher of three contrasting schools over a 16-year period. She is committed to social mobility and equity for all in education.

    'The fight against racial inequity and institutional racism starts in our schools. Unity in Diversity is an essential tool for all of those who want to join in that fight.'

    David Lammy, MP for Tottenham and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs

    ‘Macfarlane challenges us to understand that racism is affecting staff and students in our institutions, whilst also inviting us to challenge and change systems, processes and peoples involved in fomenting racism. This book is thoughtfully written, combining theory with case studies of practice and is a must read, especially for those working in schools, who have an interest in and passion for anti-racism.’

    Paul Miller, Institute for Educational & Social Equity

    'Addressing racial inequity in schools is urgent and necessary. Informative, engaging, practical and clearly written, this compelling book is a valuable resource for all head teachers and senior leaders.'

    Professor Louise Archer, University College London

    'Addressing race inequity in schools is a difficult thing to do with authenticity: unpacking the real issues which plague us as a society, whilst also presenting pragmatic solutions to help address these problems. I am often asked by MAT and education leaders what book I would recommend to help them on their journey. My answer will now be Unity In Diversity; it’s engaging for the activist and a great choice for the novice looking to learn and make a difference.'

    Sufian Sadiq, Director of Teaching School at Chiltern Learning Trust

    'This book is a must read for educationalists promoting race equity in Britain. It covers factual data, lived experiences and practical strategies for a much-needed way forward.'

    Bushra Nasir, CBE DL and CEO Drapers’ MAT

    'This will be a useful guide for teachers and educators seeking to deepen their anti-racism journey. Used properly, it will provide real support for anyone needing guidance in this area - a solid starting point for deeper engagement.'

    Jeffrey Boakye, Author, Broadcaster and Educator.

    "If you are committed to doing the work to address diversity in your setting, this is most definitely the book for you. [Macfarlane] has taken the time to carefully craft something that is honest, transparent and meaningful."

    Bukky Yusuf, Schools Week