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The Journey

The Journey

What is #DiverseEd?

Diverse Educators is a grassroots community and series of events which launched in January 2018. It was co-founded by Bennie Kara and Hannah Wilson, who also co-founded #WomenEd.


How did #DiverseEd come about?

Hannah bid for multiple Equalities and Diversity Grants from the DfE and designed, curated and facilitated a successful Diverse Leaders programme for 3 years. The bespoke leadership programmes for women leading in education and BAME leaders each ran for 3 cohorts. Bennie and Hannah worked together in a start-up school and decided to create a space for intersectional conversations.


Why does #DiverseEd exist?

In the last 5 years we have seen a rise in grassroots movements: first there was #WomenEd,  then there was #BAMEed, #LGBTed launched at the inaugural #DiverseEd event and was followed by #DisabilityEd. Each network has arisen out of the need to create support for educators  with a  protected characteristic. Saturday events have popped up around the country and are now moving internationally.

#DiverseEd was conceived during a conversation between Hannah Wilson, when she was an Executive Headteacher, and her Deputy Headteacher, Bennie Kara. Bennie shared concerns that she needed to attend 4 Saturday events to find support for her multiple identities.


How does #DiverseEd work?

For the last 3 years, #DiverseEd has been an event at the start of January. A few hundred  educators attend this low-cost/ not-for-profit event where all speakers and facilitators  contribute for free.  Due to demand the event was due to move to the North of the country for the first time in June 2020, but due to Covid19 this event was held virtually instead. The event went viral and was accessed by 13.5k on Periscope and 1.5k on Youtube. There are conversations taking place re future events in the Midlands and for targeted audiences such as the Independent Sector, Governors and for Early Career Teachers.


What is a #DiverseEd event?

Run like an unconference, the Saturday grassroots event is a combination of keynote speeches, panel discussions and facilitated workshops. The event is subsidised by sponsorship from aligned partners, including Leeds Beckett University, LyftaEd and Teacheroo. There is also a market place which enables supporting organisations  to share resources that will support the community such as the Chartered College of Teaching, the National Governors Association, Values-based Education and Diverse Booksellers.


Who goes to #DiverseEd events?

The content is by educators, for educators, but anyone can attend – other professions have joined us over the last few years including HR, law and health professionals. The audience ranges from trainee teachers to CEOs, includes governors, support staff and those considering teaching. A number of organisations and charities who work in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion space attend and support such as Amnesty International.


What impact has #DiverseEd had?

With national organisations such as Ambition School Leadership, Teach First and the DfE attending, the connections and collaborations being developed are enabling meaningful conversations about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to take place. #DiverseEd has been invited to Roundtable events at the House of Lords, the House of Commons and the DfE with Nick Gibb, Nick Clegg and Alison Peacock amongst other key influencers.

Due to the success of Diverse Leaders, Harris TSA then won the regional bid for a grant to lead BAME leadership activity for the South East. Hannah and Kate Chhatwal (now CEO at Challenge Partners) approached Ambition School Leadership re piloting a women’s only NPQH programme, they then became part of the design team for the bespoke curriculum for a leadership accreditation which is now in its 3rd cohort. Following the success of this programme, Carol Jones one of the facilitators is now leading ASCL’s women only NPQSL pathway. ASCL also had Diversity as their theme for their annual conference.


How would #DiverseEd like to shape the national agenda?

We are 5 years into a DfE and Governmental pledge for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Despite roundtables, statements of intent, grant funding, coaching pledges, flexible working pledges and pay gap analysis progress is slow.

What we would like to see:
  • More diverse teachers being recruited into teaching, and being retained
  • More diverse leaders progressing to middle leadership, senior leadership and headship
  • More diverse governance at school and trust level

How is the #DiverseEd movement gaining momentum?

Due to requests to take the events up the country, we will be hosting the first #DiverseEd North in Leeds in summer 2021 (due to be in Liverpool in summer 2020). We are also planning a #DiverseEd for Independent Schools in spring 2021 and a spring event for Early Career Teachers. We are also in discussions about diverse governance and about how to develop student engagement with #DiverseEd.

#DiverseEd was delighted to be nominated for a Community Award in the 2020 National Diversity Awards.


What are the plans for the future of #DiverseEd?

We will be naming school-based Ambassadors and system-based Associates.

We will be launching the National Diverse Educators Awards.