Education Observatory

Research in Education at the University of Wolverhampton

Inclusive leadership is to draw on the talents of others, and develop them in diverse environments to flourish

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Allana Gay, Headteacher and Co-Founder of BAMEed, shared her leadership journey on day three of our leadership conference. She reflected on how she started her journey in the Caribbean and how she had to work through the various challenges and opportunities that came her way as a BAME educator. Allana shared how BAME educators are often the most unlikely to be selected for promotions according to some of the national statistics (Porritt and Featherstone, 2019). However, this does not need to be future BAME educators’ leadership journeys. Allana reminded delegates to lead as their authentic selves, and she used the metaphor of a gardener to describe her role as leader, where she nurtures talents of others in a garden of diverse environments to enable others to flourish. She explained how gardens comprise of a variety of plants, not just one, to provide a powerful and impactful whole. Her message was that we need to see the junctions in our lives where we can reflect, regroup and refine our practice to move forward. Leadership is an evolving journey. Allana placed great emphasis on distributed leadership practices and the importance of advocacy to elevate others in a collaborative, professional way (Bush, 2019 and Hargreaves and O’Connor, 2018). 

Talent does not come in one package, and it is key to ensure that leaders surround themselves with a wide range of leaders to grow lots of different aspects on their leadership journey. Having a diverse team and celebrating difference can make a profound difference on the teams we work with (Francke, 2019). However, these teams, if they are truly representative of the communities we serve, can make a significant impact on how young people reflect on their own aspirations due to the powerful role models they see. 

Aimee Wiliams shared her National Professional Qualification for Headteachers (NPQH) journey with us and explained how the learners she works with inspired her to travel a significant distance to work with them and make a difference. Amy shared how she carefully considered developing others and growing others to understand her vision for the school she leads, and how it enabled the team to impact on the learners they look after. Amy highlighted the importance of modelling practice as well as the importance of the role coaching plays in supporting others to grow and flourish. 

We are looking forward to day four, which promises to be just as insightful, when we welcome Vivienne Porritt from WomenEd, Sean Star from the University of Wolverhampton and John Macklin from the University of East London to share their inclusive and diverse leadership journeys with us. 

Reference List: 

Bush, T. (2020), Theories of Educational Leadership and Management, UK: Sage Publications Ltd.

Francke, A. (2019), Create A Gender -balance Workplace. UK: Penguin.

Porritt, V. and Featherstone, K. (2019), 10% Braver: Inspiring Women to lead Education. UK: Sage 

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