Education leaders launch anti-racism collective for schools across East Anglia

An organisation which aims to engender positive change in the promotion and teaching of anti-racism across East Anglian education has been launched.

The East Anglia Anti-Racism Education Collective (EEAREC) will collaborate at a regional level to undertake and deliver anti-racist work across schools to benefit pupils and teaching staff.

The EEAREC was set up by Prof. Paul Miller, Professor of Educational Leadership and Social Justice, Tim Coulson, Chief Executive of the Unity Schools Partnership and Stephen Chamberlain, Chief Executive of the Active Learning Trust.

While the scandalous and tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the USA have further highlighted the need to break down the systemic racism and inequality that continue to exist in society, the EEAREC is committed to promoting through education equity, inclusion, diversity, and social justice for all.

Stephen Chamberlain, Chief Executive of the Active Learning Trust which runs primary and secondary schools across Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, said: “At the forefront of the East Anglia Anti-Racism Education Collective’s ambition is the facilitation of purposeful collaboration and partnership in pursuing an anti-racist education agenda.

“Although many would like to think of ‘education’ as a subject and as a practice as ‘squeaky clean’ or racism free, that is not the case. Education perpetuates racism in two main ways: institutional racist practices, systems and structures, and through the delivery of a curriculum that is not racially inclusive.

“It is important schools across East Anglia do more than just make statements and we must all commit to robustly reviewing existing practice and curricula, and support and challenge each other to increase the diversity in our workforce.

“This will ensure East Anglia is a leading example in the promotion of anti-racism and in the guarantee of an education system that is equitable for every pupil.”

Education leaders are invited to sign up as a member to the collective where they will benefit from a range of professional development modules and bespoke support tailored to their educational institution. The inaugural East Anglia Anti-Racism Education Collective virtual conference will take place on Tuesday 10th November.

The group has received very positive responses from local authorities across the region, many of whom are joining as members and offering subsidies to their schools to allow them to join. They have also offered to sponsor and host future events and conferences.

Professor Paul Miller, Principal Consultant & Director of Educational Equity Services, who has undertaken extensive research in the area of social justice in education, and racism and educational leadership, said: “From the outset of the East Anglia Anti-Racism Education Collective, our ambition is to talk about race openly and help each member and the group to develop a shared vocabulary and practice in anti-racism.

“We want to offer training and meaningful engagement activities in order to develop capacity and probe reflection for our membership at all levels.”

Tim Coulson, Chief Executive of the Unity Schools Partnership, added: “We want to engender and facilitate real and purposeful progress in the education of anti-racism across schools in our region. In decades’ time, when we look back at this pivotal moment for racial and social justice activism, we want each leader, each organisation and the EAAREC as a whole to be able to say, ‘I did something to challenge and stomp out racism’.”

To find out more about the East Anglia Anti-Racism Education Collective email eaarec@gmail.com and follow the collective on Twitter @EAAREC

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