Refugee Cafe’s first training programme

Rose Bewick portrait

Written by Rose Bewick

Rose is the training coordinator at Refugee Cafe. She has previously worked for the British Red Cross on the Syrian Resettlement Program, and is soon to complete a masters in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration from the University of London.

Our mission at Refugee Cafe is to use the power of food to support local refugees and migrants into employment. So, we are extremely excited to be launching our very first training program, aimed at empowering refugees and migrants with a background in hospitality to find work in this industry.

Refugees and vulnerable migrants are disproportionately represented in the UK’s unemployment figures. They often face multiple barriers to accessing work, including limited English language skills and a  lack of UK work experience. At a time when food businesses are crying out for staff, this is the perfect moment to start bridging some of the gaps which keep refugees and migrants excluded from mainstream employment in this sector. By equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to find work in the UK’s culinary industry, this course aims to help refugees and vulnerable migrants get back on their feet, regain their independence and work towards building a future for themselves and their families in the UK, by accessing mainstream employment.

Through a combination of theoretical classes and practical placements, this course will address some of the most significant barriers that refugees and migrants face when it comes to finding work in the food and hospitality industry. Classes will cover basic food hygiene and Covid measures, training in understanding budgeting and stock management, teamwork and communication skills, and more. The course will incorporate peer support coaching and communications workshops, and trainees will have the opportunity to learn from and connect with other refugees who have already found work in this industry. Trainees will also be supported to write CVs and apply for jobs, as well as learning what it takes to run a food business in the UK. The course is an opportunity for refugees to gain foundational knowledge of the UK food industry, UK work experience, Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene qualification and professional references. They will also receive one to one help to work towards their long-term employment goals.

With a background in hospitality management, a love of great food, and a big belief in the power of the hospitality sector as a force for empowerment and community cohesion, I am so excited to work with refugees and migrants who care about hospitality and have a passion for food.

This is an eight-week, part time course, based in Lewisham. Classes will run on Monday and Tuesday mornings, with four 3-hour placements over the duration of the course. Our first course will run in November (exact dates to be confirmed), but we accept rolling applications.

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in becoming a trainee, please do get in touch to apply or ask questions. You can contact me (Rose) at rose@refugeecafe.org.uk or 07306413599

 

Supported by


Audit Your Curriculum for Gender and LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

Katherine Fowler portrait

Written by Katherine Fowler

Katherine Fowler is a specialist content editor at The Key, a provider of up-to-the-minute sector intelligence and resources that empower education leaders with the knowledge to act.

Committing to improving diversity across your school’s curriculum is a big task, but it’s also a really important one. You’ll know that lasting change isn’t created by talking about gender and sexuality in a few PSHE or RSE lessons, but by really taking time to embed inclusivity throughout your curriculum. So how can you do this?

  1. Ask questions of your current curriculum. In particular, look for weaknesses or gaps in each subject and consider how you can fill these with inclusive materials (such as books written by female authors, or LGBTQ+ STEM role models). Specialist audit tools are available to help you spot these gaps and make changes, such as The Key’s LGBTQ+ and gender curriculum audit tool.
  2. Always take a moment to think about intersectionality. While you’re focusing on your representation of women and LGBTQ+ in your curriculum, it can be easy to slip into defaulting to, for example, white, able-bodied examples. Try to balance your examples to include women and LGBTQ+ people of colour, and of different abilities and body types.
  3. Encourage staff to educate themselves. If your staff don’t understand the importance of doing this sort of curriculum review, you’re not going to achieve lasting change. Ideally, you’d want to spend time with all your staff, but, if time and resources are tight, at least make sure the staff who are going to take the lead on the audit are aware of current issues surrounding gender and sexuality. There’s a host of reading material, podcasts, documentaries and TV shows that cover these topics – signpost some to your staff, and make sure they are given an opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings (for example, in a dedicated staff meeting).
  4. Create a cross-curricular working group to take the lead. As already mentioned, committing to this curriculum review is a large task, and shouldn’t be put on the shoulders of one or two people. Get a group of staff together to work on this instead. As a minimum, you’d want to involve:
  • The subject leader/co-ordinator for each subject
  • PSHE/RSE leads, who will be most familiar with the content of this audit 
  • Any other members of staff who show interest in the work (these don’t have to be teachers – passion is what’s key!)

Even though different members of the group will be focused on different parts of your curriculum, the kinds of questions in an audit and their overall aims should be aligned, so encourage them to work together and support each other.

Useful documents to review include:

  • Curriculum maps
  • Short and long-term plans
  • Individual lesson plans and resources

The working group should also take into account cross-curricular events/days, trips and assemblies.

Get the working group to meet regularly and review progress. This also lets the group share ideas and resources. Aim for a meeting at least once a term, but half-termly would be ideal.

  1. Involve the wider community. Consider running an INSET or CPD session for all staff to kick-off the curriculum review, to encourage interest and participation. All staff should feel able to feed in suggestions or ideas of what needs to improve via their subject leader.

Parents and pupils should also know that you’re carrying out this audit and be able to share their thoughts and ideas.

Your governors should know you’re doing this, too, especially any curriculum link governors. Give them the opportunity to get involved in the working group if they’re keen!

  1. Be prepared for this to take time. A full review could take up to a year, and will never truly be ‘finished’ – your working group should continue to meet, review and look for more ways to adapt and refine the curriculum. Encourage this by making sure the group has protected time, such as INSET days and staff meetings, to dedicate to the work. Consider adding the audit to your school improvement plan, so the work gets tracked and resources can be considered at the start.
  2. Go beyond your curriculum, too. If you want a truly inclusive environment, you’ll need to think about the ethos and culture that surrounds your curriculum. Consider whether you can improve inclusivity in the following areas:
  • Staff hiring and training
  • The school environment (e.g. displays, shared spaces such as the library)
  • Policies (e.g. anti-bullying policy, behaviour policy and child protection policy)
  • Meeting your requirements under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)
  • The language used across your school (Stonewall’s primary curriculum contains useful glossaries for pupils and staff)
  • Your school’s involvement and engagement with your wider community

Supported by


How can we raise anti-racist leaders?

Ayo Awotona portrait

Written by Ayo Awotona

Ayo Awotona specializes in confidence building for girls in education. She does this through programs, workshops, and keynote speeches.

When it comes to speaking about race, white privilege, and colorism; things can often get a tad bit uncomfortable or even awkward, to say the least.

This is understandable. More often than not, these are difficult conversations for most people, and difficult conversations are often characterized by emotions such as fear, anger, frustration, conflict, and other strong dividing — not unifying — emotions. These emotions are often suppressed and can be released rather strongly. 

Why is this?

It’s because emotions can run high on both sides, and there is room for the conversation to become quite heated on either or both sides. 

This is just one perspective as to why uncomfortable conversations are hard.

So I hope that takes some pressure off of you depending on your curiosity as you first read the title to this blog post 🙂

So let’s dive into this simple (yet, rather complex) question.

How can we raise anti-racist leaders? That is, how can we empower our young people in the world today to make a change by first recognizing racism and challenging it in this seemingly never-ending cycle of systemic oppression?

Before I continue, I must add here that this question is not thrown out to one particular race. This is a question that’s being thrown to each and every one of us reading this (yes! Even me as a Black-British Nigerian woman), because the reality is… change starts with every single one of us. All races and denominations. Change looks different on each and every one of us – rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

To kick us off with answering this question, it’s important for us to acknowledge/be reminded that children are not colorblind. Children are very much aware of racial differences.

Permit me to simplify how young children learn about race to:

  • what they see (both directly and indirectly), 
  • what they hear, and;
  • what they are taught (both at home and in school).

This is really encouraging because it means we (as educators and leaders) play a big role in positively influencing the trajectory of their lives. 

Now let’s talk about developing an anti-racism strategy for our young people.

There are different ways to make a change so I’ll give 3 examples of practical things that can be done to help raise anti-racist leaders.

Behavioural Change

As leaders, we ought to know and lead ourselves before we lead others. This means we essentially can’t give what we don’t have. Here are some tips for being intentional about our own growth:

  • Listen to other perspectives and de-center yourself
  • Boost the voices of the marginalized
  • Educate yourself
  • Acknowledge your own privilege and propensity for unconscious bias
  • Challenge discrimination, even when you feel scared
  • Keep the conversation going

Raising Awareness

Sometimes, one of the most powerful things we can offer young people is awareness. This is where we’re focusing their attention on a cause or issue in the world (in this case, related to race). The objective is to increase their understanding – but of course, we must be in a position where we are practicing this ourselves.

Action Planning

A great way to empower young people to take charge of their own learning is through projects – whether this is through achieving tangible or intangible objectives. Action planning activities are designed to support students to build the necessary skills for work and life, as active local and global citizens.

So what could this look like?

Running a workshop where students come up with a project idea to take action on!
During the workshop and overall project duration, it’s important that we support students with their ideas, but steer them in the direction of what is realistic. It is important not to stamp out their creativity, but equally important to ensure students have a clear understanding of how their action plan can be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-bound)

Some suggested questions to guide your students are:

  • What issues do you see happening in your local community that make you upset/angry/you would like to change?
  • What issues do you know of happening in your global community? Have you read or seen anything in the news recently?
  • If you could change one thing in your local/global community, what would it be?

I strongly believe that for us to move in the right direction of raising anti-racist leaders, change starts with both you and me.

My name is Ayo, Ayo Awotona.

Let’s keep the conversation ALIVE!

Supported by


The Psychology of Our Quarrels

Russell Ridgeway portrait

Written by Russell Ridgeway

Russell Ridgeway is an American writer based in Budapest, Hungary. He writes in business, tech, and fashion as well as creative fiction. You can reach him by email (russell@lensawork.com), or on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

Quarrels do happen in our everyday relationships, with our family members, significant others, co-workers, and friends. Is it normal to have them regularly? What can we do about them? Do they have to be ongoing, or are there specific ways to reduce their frequency and intensity? Let’s take a closer look at this actual and significant topic, and find solutions that could work. 

 

There are those types of people who avoid conflicts in contact, sometimes both parties. In other relationships, one person tends to fight more than the other, or the people keep changing roles. And it is becoming a pattern, which they cannot handle well, as the people involved are not sure what to do. No wonder why; we lack this kind of education!

 

How Quarrels Work

 

By observing, analyzing, and coming up with solutions to your quarrels, you can make your life better. Doesn’t matter who you usually fight with. This is what you, or more ideally, both of you should be doing. Realize that each of these scenarios has a starting point, a major phase with intense emotions, and a closing point. Why is this crucial to observe

 

By doing so you can see some interesting patterns. Be it a relationship between married couples, parents and children, siblings, or co-workers, it always happens similarly! If you observe them, you can realize that there are only a few typical scenarios that keep repeating themselves. When the two (or more) of you start with the same words, actions, or things!!

 

Think of the analogy of a cup. Your cup is your relationship. When you fill into it a bit of a quarrel at times, it becomes fuller and fuller until it reaches its full capacity. That’s also the point when your relationship can’t take more at any one time, so it blows up! 

 

How Do We Fight

 

You should take a piece of paper, and write down the following: 

 

  1. How do you usually start fighting? 
  2. What do you say to each other? 
  3. How do you both feel? 

 

List two of the most common types of your quarrels. Try looking at yourselves like someone neutral, an outsider. Remember, you don’t have to be one with your fight! Key points to consider: In what kinds of situations do they come up? How do we usually behave? What is the other saying that triggers us? How do we both react to each other? 

 

Look for those situations in which these fights appear. Observe both of your moods consciously. Were you already under pressure because of other things? Were you tired? Did you sleep enough? Were you adding fuel to the fire just because the other person also hurt you? Did you try to consciously stop fighting, hurting the other’s feelings, or come to a solution? 

You Are in Control

 

Did you allow the fight to take the best of you, feeling you are powerless? We often give away our power to the fight, when we should aim to do the opposite: disallow it to become ugly in the very beginning. Before expressing your pain, and thus hurting the other person, ask yourself to take it easy. Say to yourself, I am in control, not my pain. You should aim not to hurt the other. 

 

Start to take control the earliest possible, before the quarrel gets big! This is the best way to alter its outcome to what you want it to be. Many times, what we say to the other person isn’t as hurtful as how we say it. When this happens, remember, that this won’t make your contact better and surely doesn’t lead to your desired outcome! When you start observing it, you are in control!

 

Fighting is like being in trance, we tend to lose our conscious behavior. Our survival mechanisms are turning on, switching off our intellect. So, what you need to do is, get yourself out of this state! Start moving if you were sitting earlier, go out into the fresh air, take some deep breaths, wash your face… Do the same with your feelings, switch them to positive ones! Remember who is the boss!!

 

Quarrels and fights are inevitable. Like it or not, they are a natural part of each human connection. Therefore, your aim should be to avoid them as much as possible. How? By reducing their frequency, strength, and length. If you strive to make them more and more temporary, and less significant each time, you create a win-win situation for everyone. 

 

Think of things that the other person likes and be willing to give them that instead of what you like. Have a conversation to clarify each other’s needs before it is too late. If you want to make any of your relationships work.

Supported by


Building Leadership Presence through Awareness of Self

Yamina Bibi portrait

Written by Yamina Bibi

English Teacher and Assistant Headteacher

During the #WomenEd Global Unconference 2021, I spoke about how we can go about tackling our inner critic so that we can limit the influence of it on us as women. 

I shared some specific strategies that have really helped me like labelling how I am feeling and seeking support from other women through coaching. 

Despite presenting on this, I have really struggled this week to mute my unkind inner critic. 

Having started as an AHT role in a new school this year, I have felt like a novice despite being a senior leader for a few years now. I guess in some ways I am because I am new to the system, rules and routines of the school. I know that it’s normal to feel this way but unfortunately this week I have been unable to soothe my inner critic, which tells me that I should be able to do this since I’ve done this job before. This negative self talk then creates a heaviness in my heart and mind and has even stopped me from sleeping well. 

These are the unkind things that have played over and over again in my head:

‘You’ve been doing this for a while and you’re still not good.’

‘You can’t even teach properly so what makes you think you can lead?’

‘You were better as a classroom teacher instead of being SLT.’

Through coaching, I have been able to listen to this negative self talk and interrupt my tendency of letting it control me and all I do. I have learned to notice when I go from pressure to stress and acknowledge these thoughts and feelings. I have learned to notice when I am comparing myself to others and telling myself that I’m not good enough because they are better. 

However, what I’ve really noticed is that when we’re on social media, it’s so easy to assume that everything and everyone else is doing better than us. It’s easy to believe that other teachers and leaders are superhuman experts who know all there is to know and can do everything and that, in comparison, we can’t do anything. 

Let’s be honest. In schools, we are all working hard especially during these challenging times. We are all doing our best for our staff and students but no, we don’t know everything and it’s absolutely fine to say that. 

As part of Resilient Leaders Elements™, we learn to share our strengths as well as our areas of development. I’ve been so afraid to do this in the past because I have feared that everyone would know what I knew about myself: I’m a fraud and failure. I now know that being open about my developmental needs  with the people I trust and who support me does not make me a failure, it makes me an authentic leader. 

Before RLE, I always thought I was an authentic leader but I realised that only allowing people to see my strengths and never sharing my struggles meant that others thought I was a superwoman. Maybe that’s what I wanted then but I definitely don’t want that anymore. 

As leaders, we have a duty to model vulnerability and authenticity. True authentic leaders increase their leadership presence by modelling that we all have strengths and areas of development. In sharing this, hopefully others in our sphere of influence will do the same and then we can truly support them and their needs. 

Alongside this, we must also pause, reflect and acknowledge our successes. Write it down, read it on paper and read it aloud to ourselves and others. What we are doing is so important and we cannot diminish that because our inner critic is telling us otherwise. 

Let’s share all of who we are so that we can continue doing what we love without fear and that unkind inner critic holding us back. 

Supported by


Men, women and the rest of us: a brief guide to making university classrooms more accessible to trans and gender non-conforming students

Kit and Onni Flag

Written by Kit Heyam and Onni Gust

Onni Gust: Associate Professor of History, University of Nottingham. Author of Unhomely Empire: Whiteness and Belonging, c.1760-1830.Kit Heyam: Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, freelance trans awareness trainer, and queer public history activist.

This is a guide for academic teachers who want to get the best out of their trans and gender non-conforming students, and to ensure that they can fully participate in the classroom and in their studies.

1. Avoid making assumptions 

 

Don’t assume you know a student’s gender based on body-type, voice or even dress. If they do disclose their trans status, don’t assume that they have or will undergo any form of medical transition; ask them how you can support them. All you really need to know is how to address them.

2. Names and pronouns are all you need

 

Names and pronouns are all you really need to know from your students.  For trans and gender non-conforming students, the name, sex or title on their student record may be wrong. Using a student’s ‘old’ name may force them to come out, which can be incredibly distressing as well as violating the Equality Act.  To avoid this:

Names:

  • Instead of calling out the register, ask students to either write or say their names.  
  • Be up-front with students and ask them to see you, or email you, after class if for any reason their name has changed.  
  • Online platforms often automatically display names from University records. Familiarise yourself with your university’s name-changing processes – and if there aren’t any, insist that they be put in place.

Pronouns:

 

  • Even if you think it’s obvious, explain to students how you like to be addressed.  This models the process for all students and makes it much easier for trans and gender non-conforming students to state their own pronouns.  Regardless of whether you’re trans or not, it also sends a powerful signal, showing you’re aware you can’t tell someone’s gender just from looking at them.
  • If you ask students to introduce themselves to the class, give them the opportunity, but not the obligation, to include their pronouns. 
  • Gender-neutral pronouns, which some students will use, include the singular they/them/their; ze/hir/hirs; fae/faer/faers.  The list is growing: if you’re unsure, ask the student to model the usage for you, or research it online.
  • If you get a student’s pronoun wrong, apologise, correct yourself and move on.

3. What if other students constantly misgender a student in your class?

If a trans or gender non-conforming student brings this to your attention, it may be worth taking that student aside and talking to them.  If, as a transgender teacher, I suspect that this is active transphobia, I would probably ask a cisgender colleague to intervene. 

4. How else can I make learning more inclusive?

 

Consider your syllabus.  It may be necessary to teach material that uses outdated/pejorative language, or ideas, about gender and sexuality (and/or race, class and disability).  Flag up the problems, explain to your students why these texts are necessary to engage with, but make it clear that you do not support these ideas and that you invite critique.  

 

Think about how you’ll manage any resulting questions or disagreements. How can you help your students to create a trans-inclusive seminar environment without making them feel overwhelmed, alienated or defensive? 

5. Pastoral care for trans and gender non-conforming students

 

Awareness of trans and gender non-conforming identities is moving at a fast, but very uneven, pace.  While your students will hopefully have support at home and at university, that’s still not the case for the majority. In a recent UCAS report, 17% of trans university applicants reported having had a bad experience at school or college, and trans applicants were less likely than LGB applicants to have good expectations for university. The report recommends that universities and colleges introduce bespoke resources to support trans students.

 

Trans people remain disproportionately affected by mental health problems.If your trans and gender non-conforming students disclose mental health problems to you, treat them as you would any other student, butbear in mind the following:

 

  • Not enough counselors or GPs are trans-aware; some have been known to do more harm than good.
  • Specialist gender services have waiting lists of over two years from referral by a GP.  

 

If a student comes out to you as trans part-way through a semester:

 

  • Think about your reaction: this is a vulnerable moment for the student. If you don’t understand something, ask politely and calmly for clarification.
  • Don’t make any assumptions: trans people differ in their identities and their choices about social and/or medical transition. 
  • Let the student take the lead: support them if they want to come out to their class, but don’t force it.

Further resources:

 

For you: 

UCAS, Next steps: What is the experience of LGBT+ students in education?

Equality Challenge Unit, Trans staff and students in HE and colleges: improving experiences

 

For trans and gender-nonconforming students: 

GIRES (Gender Identity Research & Education Society – including a directory of support groups) 

NUS Trans Students’ Campaign

Supported by


A New School Year. A More Inclusive School Year?

Johan Jensen portrait

Written by Johan Jensen

Director of All-in Education. His consultancy work includes organisational development, leadership development, strategic communications, product development and diversity & inclusion strategy development.

In July 2020, I urged school leaders to be cautious.  In the wake of George Floyd’s brutal murder and the global reactions to racism, I was approached by numerous education institutions who felt bewildered about what to do next.  There was certainly a sense of anxiety.  It was understandable that organisations wanted to do something and demonstrate activity.  I told them, “If you panic into this work, you’ll soon see that you’ll panic out of it”.  In my experience this still stands true.

 

Over the past year, the most powerful discussions that we have had with school leaders have been about self-reflection, especially how we relate and respond to difference in all its forms.  The conclusion of most of those conversations is that when we take an honest look at ourselves and the people around us, we don’t like diversity.  In fact, I’d go as far as saying that we are naturally geared towards repelling it.  It’s called ‘homophily’, the love of same.

 

Achieving greater diversity and more inclusive schools requires purposeful self-reflection, critique and behaviour and systems change if we are even going to have a fighting chance to create the change that education still so desperately needs.

 

The majority of the schools, and groups of schools, we’ve worked with have really taken this to heart.  It’s been challenging for them.  They’ve had to confront uncomfortable truths about themselves and the institutions they’re responsible for.  But, they’ve seen how this won’t serve the purpose of creating the next generation of leaders, followers and members of society.  This is ground-breaking stuff.

 

The schools that our team has worked with have taken the first step in this journey, which is to listen.  Listening to staff, students and alumni about their experience of belonging, psychological safety, diversity and inclusion.  By supporting the senior leaders through coaching, they’ve been able to really listen to what their peers, staff, pupils and former pupils are experiencing and giving them the grounding for creating an even better experience and future.

 

The strategy that follows these first steps is long term and focuses on values, the business case for changing the way the school operates, the vision for what an inclusive school looks and feels like and how the institution will hold itself accountable in achieving this change.

 

Some schools have achieved incredible results, with one grammar school recruiting 80% non-white British staff in this year’s September intake.  But, achieving greater diversity is only part of the puzzle, achieving inclusion is a totally different game.

 

How will you create an inclusive school?

We are delighted to be running with RSAcademics a free case study webinar on 13th October to share our experiences and those of some of our clients over the last year, and we look forward to seeing you there to help you continue your thinking on inclusivity.

 

Please sign up to the webinar here.

Supported by