The Leaders Like Us programme is open to all UKME/GMH qualified teachers from Church of England schools, along with any other school, with the purpose of addressing racial inequality within teaching.
Due to the fact it is a Church of England led programme, Christian values and beliefs drive the work, which means there is some faith based content, however, there is no expectation that participants practice a particular faith.
Bola-Alysia Ayonrinde is the Church of England National Education Lead for Racial Justice. Bola-Alysia says:
“Research shows that when children are taught by teachers and leaders who look like them, their attainment, achievement and confidence increases significantly and enables them to flourish.”
In the Diocese of Norwich, the Leaders Like Us programme is already underway at Harleston Sancroft Academy School, near Bungay in Norfolk and at St Michael’s V.A. Junior school in Bowthorpe near Norwich.
Rob Connelly is Headteacher at Harleston Sancroft Academy and a mentor on the programme. He says;
“Working with prospective leaders across the country, alongside fellow mentors and in collaboration with CEFEL provides a level of professional dialogue that serves to enrich our own school community. It has provided me with greater insight to the potential challenges and barriers that may be faced by colleagues within the context of their school settings. I have benefited greatly from the training I have received in my role as a mentor and have been able to utilise the skills developed when working with teams across our school.”
Aileena Brooks is a teacher on the programme. She says;
“There is plenty to be gained from the Leaders Like Us programme, from the personalised guidance to opportunities for open professional discourse. This results in increased confidence, objective perspective and personal growth.”
St Michael’s V.A Junior School in Bowthorpe near Norwich is also participating in the programme.
Sarah Claflin is the Schools Adviser on Racial Justice and a mentor. She says:
“At St Michael’s V.A. Junior, we serve a diverse community and understand that representation matters. We have worked hard to ensure that racial justice is a theme running through every aspect of school life and therefore we were excited by the opportunity to join the Leaders Like Us programme. By participating in this programme, we hoped to not only empower aspiring leaders from underrepresented backgrounds, but also to foster more diverse and representative leadership across Norfolk.
As a mentor, I have been inspired by the two mentees who I work with and have appreciated their enthusiasm and openness. They have fully invested in the training facilitated through the programme and shown commitment to the sessions. For them, being part of this programme means breaking barriers and advancing toward leadership positions.
For our school, I have had the opportunity to develop through access to training and a network of like minded colleagues that has not only support the mentees I have been working with, but colleagues in my school also. Our school has also benefited from access to talented, diverse leaders who share fresh perspectives and ideas; enriching our educational approach and cultural competency.
We are very proud to be contributing to the shaping of the educational system through the development of future leaders from UKME/GMH backgrounds and hope to inspire other colleagues from schools in Norfolk to join the programme.”
The Leaders Like Us programme is an 18 month course, fully funded for teachers in maintained schools, thanks to the Racial Justice Grant.
If you are interested in recommending participants or becoming a host school/mentor please contact LLU@churchofengland.org