Out and about

  • SUTR delegate to NEU Teachers’ conference. Equality strands are being practically embedded into the curriculum. This is significant to particularly young people where their sexuality is difficult to acknowledge.  Different attitudes to disability (more can–do) and greater understanding of language around/about BAME students.  A great best practice case that has successfully include LGBTQ+ matters around the school. Parents are on board.
  • A totally different experience reflecting a high-profile Birmingham school’s reaction to LGBTQ+ being introduced in the curriculum was being discussed at the meeting I attended at the SEEDS organisation. It seems Birmingham Education Department leaving the responsibility to the heads of schools has not been the best strategy. Nottingham was cited as a council which took the responsibility to decide this was part of the curriculum in such a way that had parents on board. I believe SEEDS will be approaching Birmingham with a view to consult with Nottingham’s model.
  • During Black History Month a number of local offices highlighted Exhibitions around the theme of “Migration” – Five Ways House used the depiction of Commonwealth citizens from around the globe being poured into the UK crown and various professionals pouring out in aid of the mother country.
  • A well-attended pan-equality conference was held in the Midlands regional office during Black History Month.  Guest speaker Maxie Hayles gave his personal experience as a member of the Windrush era, though he actually arrived in the UK via the SS Begona at 16 years old – 59 years ago. An anecdotal piece supported the next workshop posing – how might UK-born people cope with returning to their parent’s country of origin.  Which skills would help provide their needs – ULR ‘value my skills’ assessed.
  • Excellent and well-facilitated few workshop sessions looking at what is racism; recognising and tackling it effectively in the workplace was delivered by Claudine Campbell, a well experienced rep.  Claudine was able to share some examples that many identified with. A clear message was not to tolerate racism and delegates were directed to Lydia Whyte’s report of February 2019 giving examples of quotations for response. Several delegates expressed that the workshops had encouraged them to take positive action in joining branch activities as future ULRs or advocates as the day had made them feel ‘team’ focussed.


Herma Hughes, Midlands regional representative on the national black members’ committee

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