“When I was at school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I grew up,” says Theresa Esan.

“I didn’t have many role models that inspired me.

“There were big international figures like Nelson Mandela and Oprah, but none that I could relate to locally.”

It was because of a lack of local black role models when she was a child that Theresa decided to become a governor at a sixth form college in the London borough of Havering.

Teresa, who has been a governor for nine months, is now helping to front a campaign by the charity Governors for Schools aimed at encouraging greater diversity on school governing boards across England.

The charity works to match skilled and committed volunteers with schools looking for governors.

Why is the charity encouraging diversity?

In a survey of 5,300 governors, conducted by the National Governance Association and the Times Educational Supplement in 2017, 94% of respondents gave their ethnicity as white.

The survey noted that this is “considerably narrower than the averages shown in the census (86% white) and the backgrounds of pupils attending state-funded schools (75% white)”.

Louise Cooper, CEO of Governors for Schools, said: “Breaking down stereotypes and challenging preconceptions of what people think school governors are, is vital in encouraging diversity on governing boards.

“Different viewpoints and skills bring the challenge governing boards need, which in turn provides more rigorous debate in making difficult decisions and ensuring effective governance.”

What does Theresa say?

For Theresa, it’s crucial that children see people like them in positions of influence.

“Growing up in Hampshire there was nobody like me that I could look up to, apart from my mother, ” she says.

“Children and young adults need to be inspired early on in their lives.

“It’s so important that they see people of their own gender and ethnicity and background in senior roles – it helps them to aspire and dream and know things are possible.”

Her view is backed up by Cecilia from Haringey in London.

“I wanted to give back to my former local community. I grew up in Haringey and wanted to contribute to a school that’s making great progress and doing amazing things for children in the borough.

“Most people think I’m quite young to be a governor. But I’ve been able to provide a perspective as a young black woman.

“I’ve made other governors aware of the specific challenges young people in Haringey face, in terms of their relationships not just with education, but within the local community too.”

Theresa, who has been awarded an MBE for services to further education, says she has learnt a lot from her time as a school governor.

“One of the best parts of being a governor is meeting lots of talented and ambitious young people. You can learn so much by talking to them.”

How many vacancies are there?

There are approximately a quarter of a million people volunteering as governors in schools in England.

Governors for Schools currently has 2,721 vacancies across England, and 2,535 of those are outside London.

The charity says the south-east tends to have the most vacancies as it is more densely populated than other areas, and has a high volume of schools.

What does being a governor involve?

Anyone aged over 18 can be a governor and you do not have to be a parent. Governors have three main responsibilities:

  • overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure the money is well spent
  • holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
  • ensuring the school has a clear vision, ethos and direction.


Source – BBC News

Sol Campbell among group of black and ethnic minority coaches called up to work with England as FA look to increase diversity in national teams.

The FA have fulfilled a commitment to increase the diversity of their coaching set-up and, as reported by The Times, four big names are on their way to St George’s Park.

Campbell, former Wolves boss Terry Connor and Chelsea’s loan technical coach Eddie Newton will join up with Aidy Boothroyd’s Under 21s squad for two upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Andorra and Scotland.


Paul Nevin, currently Chris Hughton’s first-team coach at Brighton, will help Gareth Southgate for next month’s games against the USA and Croatia, but will not be involved for the upcoming Nations League matches in October.

Southgate is in favour of the FA’s commitment to increase opportunities for BAME coaches, but did not want to upset the balance of his team this close to two important competitive fixtures.

England face Croatia and Spain on the 12th and 15th of October respectively, and Southgate will continue to work with his current crop of coaches, including trusted assistant Steve Holland.

The Times report that each of the four coaches will be rotated between the senior and U21s squads, meaning that each get the chance to work with the country’s top players.

The FA’s big move is part of a three-year ‘diversity and inclusivity’ plan called ‘In Pursuit of Progress’, which committed to assign a BAME coach to all 28 England teams.

Southgate was criticised by former footballer turned pundit Garth Crooks in the summer for not taking a BAME coach to the World Cup in Russia.

Speaking in March, Crooks said: ‘This is a monumental error of judgement from the England manager.

‘He has no idea what he could be subjecting his black players to.

‘If Gareth Southgate does not take a Chris Powell or a Chris Ramsey to Russia and our black players are subjected to racial abuse then it is a dereliction of his duty. They need support.’


Source – Daily Mail

Black, Asian and minority ethnic coaches (BAME) will be offered work placements with senior England teams to help increase diversity in football.

It is one of the measures outlined by the Football Association in a new equality action plan.

The FA said in January it was working on plans to increase equality in the organisation and the wider sport.

“We want the FA to reflect modern society in this country,” FA chairman Greg Clarke said.

“It will not happen overnight, but this is a significant step in the right direction to make football more equal, more diverse and more inclusive for all.”

The three-year action plan, called In Pursuit of Progress, puts forward a range of measures and targets it wants to hit by 2021.

It is designed to address recruitment, identify and nurture talent from different backgrounds and narrow the gender pay gap from the highest levels of the FA down to grassroots level.

Targets include:

  • Increasing England’s BAME coaching staff from the current level of 13% to 20% and female coaches from 26% to 29% by 2021
  • Raising the number of women in leadership roles from 30% to 40% and BAME leaders from 5% to 11%
  • The FA also wants to increase the amount of women and girls participating in football by 75% over the next three years.

Some of the changes have been driven by the Eniola Aluko controversy, after the then-Chelsea Ladies striker said she was victimised for reporting discrimination in the England camp.

“Naturally I welcome any initiative to champion the causes of diversity and inclusion in football – however long it takes to arrive. I look forward to supporting the FA in its aims and objectives in this area,” said Herman Ouseley, chairman of campaign group Kick It Out. – Kick it out have also been shortlisted for the 2018 National Diversity Awards!

What is the FA planning to do?

The FA says it will introduce an NFL-style ‘Rooney Rule’ to ensure at least one BAME candidate is interviewed for any England role “if a suitably-qualified BAME candidate applies” – a measure first outlined earlier this year.

“Of the 23-man squad which competed so well this summer in the Fifa World Cup in Russia, 12 were black or mixed-background,” an FA spokesperson said.

“They are a vibrant, modern team that represents England at its best. It is our ambition that our coaching and support staff better reflect what’s been achieved on the pitch.”

Other measures include:

  • Providing 12-month placements for BAME male and female coaches throughout the national teams’ structure.
  • Recruiting and training more coaches for disability football
  • Funding two grassroots officers at anti-discrimination campaign group Kick It Out to help county FAs to improve their inclusion
  • Running campaigns to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender players and fans
  • Promoting awareness of colour blindness in football
  • Developing extra support for mental health and emotional well-being
  • Offering more than 800 Uefa B coaching licence bursaries to BAME and female coaches over the next three years and 75 Uefa A bursaries
  • Undertaking more research into workplace barriers for BAME coaches.

Source: BBC Sport


Children’s books should feature more ethnic minority characters in central roles, a literacy charity has said.

The Centre for Literacy and Primary Education also said black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) characters should not be mainly defined by their struggle, suffering or “otherness”.

It said more than half the 400 books it looked at featuring BAME characters covered issues such as war and racism.

The Publishers Association said diversity issues were being worked on.

In the study, funded by Arts Council England, 40 publishers submitted 587 books from 2017, of which 391 met CLPE’s criteria of being written for children aged between three and 11 and featuring at least one BAME character.

Of those, 56% involved “contemporary realism” issues such as war, refugees and racism, compared to just 0.6% being classed as a comedy.

Other categories included fantasy (20%), historical fiction (9%) and science fiction (4%).

‘Balanced diet’

CPLE is recommending that:

  • Representation of BAME characters should be “meaningful and accurate” thereby “better reflecting the UK population”
  • Stories should allow for cultural details “without reducing characterisations to derogatory stereotypes”
  • BAME characters should be central and not only predominantly feature in the margins
  • Non-fiction needs to be “more representative”
  • BAME characters should “exist across a range of genres” to “allow readers to experience the full spectrum of emotions”

Project leader Farrah Serroukh said: “If young readers are only experiencing characters from certain backgrounds in certain contexts, it tends to skew their perspective on those people.

“If you only see them in a social justice context or as struggling, being oppressed or on a quest for liberation, then the understanding can be diminished for both BAME and non-BAME children.”

CLPE also said only 4% of the 9,115 children’s books published in the UK in 2017 had a BAME character, although the data on how many publishers of those books submitted their work for the survey has not been made available.

Ms Serroukh said: “The findings are not particularly surprising, this has been a gut instinct for those working in the children’s books industry for some time.

“Ultimately what we want to see is a balanced diet of books on the shelf.

“Children have to have access to a wide and varied range of literature.”

She said the industry should “invest in both established and new authors” and stories should be “thoroughly researched” and all characters should be “respectful, nuanced and layered”.

This is the first survey of its kind to be carried out in the UK and Ms Serroukh hopes it will become an annual investigation.

She said: “In time, what we want is there to not be a need for this survey.”

Author Sonal Sachdev Patel said she wanted to write her book GITA: The Battle of the Worlds, co-authored with Jemma Wayne-Kattan, because there was a lack of books for her children.

She said: “I think it’s really important we talk about BAME communities in a representative way so readers do not see them only associated with these issues.

“I want my children to be able to know about their culture but also embrace what the best of British is.

“Until we increase the representation of BAME characters in our books we can never build the understanding we need of each other.

“Respect comes from understanding and exposure.”

‘Window on culture’

Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said CLPE’s figures are “sobering” and publishers are “genuinely working to try and address representation in their books”.

He said: “There is a real will for change, these figures show that there is still a huge amount of work to be done.”

Mr Lotinga also said many publishers are “making significant efforts” to make their workforces more diverse which, in time, is “likely to help in terms of the books that are published”.

Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said the company was “already very much aware that there are still too many stories which are not being told and too many voices being overlooked”.

She said the firm runs several schemes to increase diversity of authors.

Ms Dow said: “We want to give every child the opportunity to be able to see themselves in books and to see their experiences, cultures and communities reflected and also for books to be their window on to other cultures.”

Source: BBC News

The BBC’s director general has spoken of the “importance” of a report into the Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) culture at the corporation.

Tony Hall addressed staff on Wednesday saying he was “determined” to implement findings from the two-year long review.

The recommendations address ways in which the BBC can boost diversity and further the careers of BAME staff.

Among the suggestions was to appoint two BAME members to the BBC’s executive committee by 2020.

The report’s aim states that by the same year at least 15 per cent of the corporation’s leadership should be from a BAME background.

The findings found that although BAME leadership numbers are at their highest level in the corporation’s history, they fell well below the 2020 target at just 10.4 per cent.

In certain areas BAME employees in leadership are below four per cent and there are currently no BAME members of the executive committee.

The findings showed that during the lifetime of the report, the BBC’s BAME workforce has increased from 13.1 per cent in 2015 to 14.8 per cent in 2018.

This is the highest percentage of BAME employees at the BBC ever, the report says, with the largest proportion of BAME employees found in the Professional Service and World Service Group areas.

Figures in the BBC’s Nations and Regions, however, are said to be “very low”, even though many office locations are in cities and towns with high BAME populations.

Numbers of BAME employees in the creative areas are also low.

Here are a number of recommendations the report made:

  • Introduce a policy that ensures shortlists for all jobs at Band E (editor/manager level) and above include at least one BAME person by the end of summer 2018.
  • Dramatically increase BAME representation across interview panels.
  • All development and leadership programmes to have significant BAME representation.
  • Diversity and inclusion targets and BAME career progression should be incorporated into senior leadership team objectives and progression reviews.
  • Cultural awareness training should be compulsory for all team managers.

A number of high profile mistakes across BBC News in the last 12 months were also highlighted in the report – including getting the Mayor of London’s nationality wrong and the use of footage of the wrong Bollywood star in a TV news obituary.

The report said: “A more ethnically diverse newsroom is more likely to have picked these issues up before broadcast.” It also added: “More should be done to understand other cultures and any disinterest to learn challenged.”

Lord Hall said he was going to personally “champion” the recommendations made in the report.

He told staff: “In some areas we simply haven’t moved fast enough. I’m determined that we are going to change. It’s 2018, and it’s time for a new chapter for the BBC.”

Tunde Ogungbesan, who led the review, said the report was “more than just about numbers and tokenism – it is about culture and also recognising that what got the BBC to where it is today, will not get it where it needs to be tomorrow without a substantial culture change.”

He went on: “I am proud that the BBC as an organisation has come together to address these issues and I fully endorse the recommendations that we as a group have come up with.”

Source: BBC News

When the BBC revealed statistics showing the gender pay gap of their top earners, it made international news. On the same day the BBC also published other diversity statistics, which showed that its black, Asian and minority ethnic staff are less likely to be promoted than their colleagues, and less likely to reach senior management. And if a minority person decides to leave the BBC they are less likely to receive a payoff.

But possibly most important of all the statistics showed that when it comes to racial diversity, the corporation failed to meet its own targets in six of its 10 divisions.

There are definitely more people of colour on our television screens, and more women in high-profile positions. But the fact is that while things might look like they are getting better, if you scratch the surface there is still a long way to go. The gender pay gap still persists, and the people who make TV programmes are still far from diverse.

I believe that if we want to change our industry we must look beyond what we see on our TV screens and fix the bigger problems lying beneath. When it comes to racial diversity that means looking at who commissions and makes the programmes.

Back in 2014 more than 50 leading industry figures including Idris Elba, Stephen Poliakoff, Meera Syal and Emma Thompson, wrote an open letter to all the broadcasters asking them to set money aside for diverse production. Nearly all the relevant unions and trade bodies – including the National Union of Journalists, Bectu and Directors UK – have all recently said the regulator Ofcom needs to do more to ensure the BBC increase the diversity of those who make the programmes.

And when I gave a speech in parliament in July in front of a cross-party panel, all agreed that targets for off-screen diversity are essential.

There is just one problem. Ofcom, the body that would be responsible for setting any targets for the broadcasters doesn’t agree with me. Or with the leading industry figures. Or with the unions. Or with the cross-party politicians.

This will be the first year Ofcom will be regulating the BBC and it has said it will only set targets for the corporation’s on-screen diversity and not for anything off screen.

But off-screen diversity is key. Having had my own production company (Crucial films in the 90s and Douglas Road Productions now), I know that if the boss says, “we’re going to make this a diverse production”, then it has to happen. Someone must go out and make it their job to find an ethnically and gender-diverse cast, crew and editorial staff.

Unfortunately if those at the top don’t give the order then, even with the best will in the world, it drops to the bottom of their staff’s “to do” list. It’s so much easier to go with what you know, rather than seek out someone new, different, challenging.

Today, more programmes than ever are being made away from London – not because the execs at BBC and Channel 4 suddenly fell in love with Scotland and Wales, but because the regulator told them they had to do it.

At that event in parliament, one politician spoke about training and initiatives and every single ethnic-minority industry professional bristled. We’re constantly infantilised and patronised; told to “wait and see – it’ll all come good in the end”. Marcus Ryder, who used to run current affairs for BBC Scotland (but who now works in China) told the meeting, “We’re tired of being told to ‘wait and see’ – we’ve waited and we’ve seen! It’s time for change… and now!”

I met one minority TV executive who’d had a nervous breakdown because of prejudice and lack of trust in her abilities at work. I met a young female actor who was contemplating a move to Los Angeles where the work on offer for black performers is more varied and plentiful than here in the UK.

It feels as if everyone is behind us, that we’ve won significant battles but, unfortunately, we are no further down the road when it comes to winning the war.

However, I am still hopeful. Ofcom also said that it may yet change its mind, and will come to a final decision in September: we can only hope it will reconsider its strangely passive decision. Having met many black and minority individuals from our industry, I know they would all welcome the chance to compete on a level playing field. If we’re to make real progress towards diversity on our TV screens, Ofcom needs to listen to us.

Source – The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/01/ofcom-racial-diversity-tv-bbc-targets-lenny-henry

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