A discussion of all the things we wish we knew, learned and discussed at school. From wellbeing to finance, prejudice to the school system...our aim is to give students, teachers and professionals a voice to discuss what they think school should be for our teachers, students and communities. We want school to be a place where students want to go, teachers enjoy teaching and communities see the true value of these institutions. That is only possible with these conversations. So grab a coffee, listen in and let us know your thoughts!
How can schools be safe and inclusive environments for all students and staff? Exploring diversity and inclusion in education
Nic Ponsford, Co-Founder and the CEO, Education, of the Global Equality Collective, a movement and community of over 15 000 and a Collective of over 450 diversity, equality and inclusion subject matter experts, joins me to talk about how schools can integrate effective diversity and inclusion education in a sustainable and effective manner. The GEC has designed and launched the world’s first app for diversity and inclusion, which provides workplaces and schools with necessary D&I research and data, education, resources and advice - all tailored and relevant to the organisation's needs.
Nic was also a secondary school leader and is a digital education specialist, and now an education and technology thought leader. Nominated for national diversity and inclusion awards in 2020 and 2021, Nic has long been an inclusion activist for adults and students. The GEC brings together an array of experience, expertise and knowledge to ensure diversity and inclusion are not something organisations just 'do' and tick off; rather, the GEC aims to make D&I an embedded and integrated, working part of every organisation and its stakeholders too.
Nic talks to me about her experiences in schools, how she managed integrating diversity and inclusion practices in her leadership, systems and processes, and how schools can overcome certain barriers associated with effective diversity and inclusion education, from environment, demography and parents too. Follow the GEC on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
A Headteacher's perspective: how can we create great school cultures for students, teachers and parents?
Meena Wood, MBA Ed Leadership, FRSA, is an Education Consultant & Trainer, former HMI Ofsted Inspector, Secondary Academy Principal, Principal of Adult Education, DfE & LA Education Advisor. Meena joins me to talk about what makes a great school culture and how schools can embed healthy, effective and successful school cultures into their everyday working practices, environments, staff body and students.
Culture is everything for any organisation - it is what defines an identity, an organisation's values, ethos and their output too; this is most certainly no different for a school, especially when it comes to student wellbeing, academic success and staff wellbeing too.
Meena is an inspirational leader with an array of experience in working with schools and students to help enhance and build strong cultures for the benefit of students, staff and their parents. Meena shares her experiences with me along with her experiences as an Ofsted Inspector to provide a real insight into how every school can be great for students, no matter where they are or what school they choose to go to. It's so important we overcome a postcode lottery when it comes to schooling and developing a great school culture is perhaps a key part of making this possible.
Meena has recently co-authored a book Secondary Curriculum Tranformed: Enabling All to Achieve, which can help headteachers and teachers across the country and beyond create a highly successful, efficient and rich, skills-based and values-led curriculum for all - it should be on reading lists for teacher training, worldwide!
What should we know about teaching and learning in Pakistan? Deconstructing dominant narratives and adopting a curious mindset
Anusheh Attique is a teacher, mentor and innovator in curriculum design and training and development in Pakistan. This conversation is such an energetic, lively, engaging and authentic discussion of everything school should be: learning about different perspectives, unlearning our biases and understanding to listen and empathise with compassion, curiosity and an open mind. Anusheh speaks to me about schooling in Pakistan, decolonising the curriculum, the sheer importance of teaching students humanity and understanding and why education is such an important and foundational tool for success no matter where you are in the world.
A truly uplifting, informative and heart-warming discussion on how students should learn, how we should teach and how we can all connect as students across the world.
How can we create a positive body image experience for teenage boys at school?
This week, I speak to Harry Moore, Business Management graduate with a Masters in Psychology...and a fitness professional of over 10 years. Harry is founder of Team for Never Lean, a platform of over 19k subscribers, that aims to discuss and centralise topics and discussions that can often make the fitness industry feel like an uncomfortable place. Team For Never Lean is are centred on research and aims to dispel misinformation about fitness and exercise in order to make fitness and health accessible for everyone.
Harry talks to me about his own school experiences with fitness and how schools, teachers and students themselves can normalise conversations around male body image, a topic that is perhaps not explored enough, especially for impressionable teenagers. The conversation takes many turns and in essence, Harry shares simple yet effective advice on how we can move away from aesthetic body image goals for young people and focus on a holistic approach to mental, physical and emotional health - something all students need to do for their wellbeing.
The Double X Economy: academic and economic barriers for women - a student perspective
Noor-ul-Huda Sheikh and Liberty Thomas, both university students join me to discuss Linda Scott's excellent book, The Double X Economy, in which Scott explores the level of global, female 'economic subordination'. In her book, Scott draws upon an array of sources from her own research and data, to her own exchanges with women in Ghana, Bangladesh and in the US. The book is fascinating and a wonderful read, especially for students aged 17 and above; as Scott says, reading the book is activism in itself and you cannot help but be compelled to work towards global economic equality for women...it really is better for all of us, politically, socially and economically too.
Noor, a French and Business student and Liberty, an aero engineering student, both attended an all girls' comprehensive school. Now at university, we discuss the impact the book has had on their own thinking and how schools can tailor teaching, learning and school culture to enable equality of opportunities for female students. They draw upon their own experiences along with their experiences in their student leadership roles. Both students are studying very different subjects and they explore the impact of studying STEM based subjects for young women at school too.
A wonderful conversation, which is of great benefit to those young people and schools interested in Scott's work, justice and equality for women and how we can academically and economically empower women from a young age.
Gender diversity: how can we address gender stereotypes from an early age in the classroom and beyond?
Bilkis Miah is Co-founder and CEO of You Be You, an award-winning organisation working with primary schools and parents to address and break down gender stereotypes and encourage students to embrace their individual identities. Bilkis explores how teachers and students can address gender stereotypes from as young as 5 and why schools need to challenge gender stereotypes if we are to create equitable opportunities for younger generations and beyond.
In this podcast episode, Bilkis talks to me about particular gender stereotypes students, parents and teachers can challenge; how teachers can begin conversations around gender diversity in the classroom, and parents/ family can help their children in the home environment. We explore the importance of identity, intersectionality and gender education on the curriculum - and how it can make the world of difference to the opportunities available and accessible for all students.
Bilkis, originally working in management consultancy in the City, discovered early on that although successful in her own career, there were few that represented her identity as a female, British-Bangladeshi woman in leadership. We now see most companies aiming to diversify their workforce and encourage people of all genders to rise to the 'top' when it comes to career success; however, this must be addressed early on if we are to sustain a non-tokenistic approach to gender diversity in our societies. You Be You workshops, resources and CPD training for schools are backed by prominent research and expert advice. Bilkis and her team have successfully led pilot schemes in primary schools which have resulted in a 38% decrease in young girls thinking certain jobs are just for boys and a 52% increase in young children thinking it's ok for girls to play with trucks. It is these 'simple' notions that we need to address from a young age to normalise limitless opportunities for all children, which is the purpose and motive behind You Be You's work with primary school children and primary school teachers.