Audrey Pantelis portrait

Written by Audrey Pantelis

Audrey Pantelis is an associate coach, consultant and trainer. She is a former Headteacher of a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities school and a current Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultant and leadership coach.

“Ok… can you remove your items from your basket and place them onto the conveyor belt please? Thank you…

*Beeping of the item being scanned*

DEI policy/Racial Equity statement following the death of George Floyd in 2020 – check; 

*Beeping of the item being scanned*

External DEI/Race equality audit commission – check; 

*Beeping of the item being scanned*

External DEI consultants commissioned – check;

*Beeping of the item being scanned*

Staff training sessions booked with the solutions to key DEI/Race issues in two sessions or less – check…”

If you are a Trust leader or school leader – this may be a little bit (or a lot) tricky to read. 

Some schools and organisations are missing the point with regards to their understanding of how to dismantle and rebuild positive and meaningful DEI strategies. They are expecting miraculous results from minimal input – a bit like expecting to lose weight because you have a pair of trainers and a tracksuit in your wardrobe, but you NEVER WEAR THEM TO DO ANY EXERCISE

Thankfully this is not universal, but this thinking is out there. 

The idea that one person/one training or awareness session is going to address the issues that your external audit has discovered is unrealistic. Like an onion, there will be many layers that will need to be stripped back. 

This is where it gets hard. 

This is where the real work begins. 

Begins – not concludes. 

No stops, or “if I read this, or just do this one thing, it will be fine.”

If you make the courageous decision to start your analysis of how DEI is showing up in your school or organisation, be ready to bypass the supermarket. 

There are no quick fixes that you can pick up. 

No shortcuts. 

The work has to be done in real time because this is real life. But it must be sustained by a commitment from the entire community that the work will be done. By everyone. 

Quick fixes are temporary and won’t give you the results that are meaningful. That is, of course, if you want meaningful results. Avoid the supermarket. There’s nothing there that will help you.