2021 Autumn Term 2


  • Clockwork Tomato
    Geoff Barton explores the less familiar areas of leadership in the hope we can appreciate that each and every leader leaves behind an education system better than the one they inherited. More
  • Here to Help
    Supporting you is at the heart of everything we do. Director of Member Support, Richard Tanton, says it's been an exceptionally busy year for his team, advising and representing leaders through extremely challenging times. Here he provides an overview. More
  • Considering Headship?
    Taking the step from senior leader to headteacher or principal can be daunting. Here, Headteacher and ASCL Consultant Gareth Burton shares top tips to help leaders considering their next move. More
  • Keeping Track
    As a multi-academy trust (MAT) leader, navigating assessment data across your schools is essential but it can be complicated and time consuming. Here, Sue Macgregor from Alps shares top tips on how trust leaders can better manage the process. More
  • Making a Difference
    Over the last three years, we've put our work on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at the heart of everything we do at ASCL. Here Rachael Warwick, Immediate Past President, highlights the work undertaken so far and shares our future plans. More
  • Levelling Up
    In their new roles, Nadhim Zahawi and Michael Gove have a chance to deliver true levelling up, but it will take more than one policy or initiative to unpick the inequalities behind poor outcomes for some children in education, says NFER's Dr Angela Donkin. More
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Over the last three years, we’ve put our work on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at the heart of everything we do at ASCL. Here Rachael Warwick, Immediate Past President, highlights the work undertaken so far and shares our future plans.

Making a Difference

We’re all familiar with the often quoted and stubbornly static statistics regarding the low numbers of minority ethnic, women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual plus (LGBT+) leaders in our schools and colleges, and the compelling arguments for the need for change. Not only is this a moral imperative but we know that more diverse groups make better decisions, bringing a myriad of perspectives to the table and avoiding ‘the warm glow of homophily’, which author Matthew Syed articulates so convincingly in his book Rebel Ideas: The power of diverse thinking. As a leadership organisation, ASCL has a responsibility, and the influence, among our 21,000 or so members, to make a positive difference. 

ASCL has put its work on EDI front and centre over the last three years and we continue to do so, as outlined in our annual ASCL EDI Plan (www.ascl.org.uk/EDIPlan202122). 

The inception of ASCL’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), LGBT+, and Women’s online networks has created a forum for ASCL members and employees to support one another. They will be joined this year by a new Inclusion Network. The networks are chaired by Council members (www.ascl.org.uk/council) and supported by Margaret Mulholland, ASCL SEND and Inclusion Policy Specialist. 

The networks link into the work of ASCL Council committees – forums that influence policy through the creation of ASCL position statements. For example, recently, the Women Leaders’ Network provided a committee with feedback on their experience of the gender pay gap, offering direct commentary for a new report to be published by ASCL, WomenED, National Governance Association (NGA) and National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). 

While each network has independence and offers a safe and collegiate space for members, they also have the opportunity to influence the development of ASCL policy. 

Further information about the networks and meeting dates is on the EDI section of ASCL’s website (www.ascl.org.uk/EDI). Below is a summary from each of the network chairs, of the work undertaken last year and their future plans:  

ASCL LGBT+ Leaders’ Network 

I’m thrilled to be chairing our network as it moves into its second year, facilitating support, information and networking opportunities for ASCL’s LGBT+ members. Whether you came along last year to listen to Lord Cashman talk about celebrating human rights, to hear Rev Steve Chalke MBE speak about faith and inclusion or if you have never previously contemplated being part of this network, you’re welcome to join us for all or any of our meetings. 

Speakers booked for the year ahead include Peter Kyle, Shadow Schools Minister and Sue Sanders, Professor Emeritus at the Harvey Milk Institute and founder of LGBT History Month. 

The purpose of our network is to allow LGBT+ leaders to be visible and chip away at the narrative that they need to remain in the shadows rather than be their authentic self at work should they choose. We also provide opportunities to listen to others and support one another. The network also exists for outreach. The wisdom and experience that exists within the network has been of considerable benefit to the wider ASCL membership. Some members have commented that the network has made them feel more confident and empowered them to be the change that we so often talk about, and others are just happy to know this forum exists should they wish to get involved in the future. Find out more about our work and how you can join the network at www.ascl.org.uk/LGBTLeaders 

Richard Atterton 
Chair of ASCL LGBT+ Leaders’ Network and ASCL DASH (Deputy and Assistant Head) Representative

ASCL BAME Leaders’ Network 

I am immensely proud of the BAME network since its first meeting in autumn 2020. When I chaired this meeting, it was with some trepidation, as I wasn’t sure how many colleagues would attend. I shouldn’t have worried. Our first meeting had over 45 attendees and since then, numbers have grown and, on occasions, we have had up to 80 on a Zoom screen. 

We are a group of BAME senior leaders who are passionate about changing the leadership landscape so our voices get heard and we get seen. Our meetings always include a guest speaker/presenter, and these have ranged from Penny Rabiger from BAMEed (www.bameednetwork.com) to Antonina Tereshchenko, Lecturer at Brunel University London, with whom the network is co-badging a paper on BAME recruitment. Our meetings offer a safe space for members to share their experiences and offer support, which many have found invaluable. 

This year, as ASCL Vice President, I will overview the work of all the EDI networks and other members will step forward to chair the BAME network. Their plans are to grow the mentoring aspect of our work, focus on the theme of ‘Recruitment and Retention’ and continue our safe space sessions. 

If you haven’t joined us yet, please do; it’s inspiring, motivating and humbling in equal measures. Find out more about our work and how you can join the network at www.ascl.org.uk/BAMENetwork 

Evelyn Forde 
Chair of ASCL BAME Leaders’ Network (2020/21) and ASCL Vice President 

Women Leaders’ Network 

Looking back on our first year, the Women Leaders’ Network has reason to be proud. As a safe space for engaging in challenging conversation, we have discussed issues such as equity, fairness and opportunity in leadership, working to the objectives of the ASCL EDI Plan. We have welcomed the insight of external speakers, including Caroline Nokes MP, Rowena Hackwood, CEO of Astrea Academy Trust and Kat Banyard of UK Feminsta. We have contributed to important national discussions, such as the gender pay gap and sexual harassment in schools. 

We welcome a range of speakers to our network this year, including Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Flexible Working Ambassador, Antonia Spinks. 

Committed to the ongoing development of current and future leaders, we are offering peer coaching throughout the year so members are supported, and wider networks strengthened. 

With more than 50 members, the network offers women leaders a fabulous opportunity to share and learn from one another – and we are always happy to welcome new members. Find out more about the network and how you can join us at www.ascl.org.uk/womenleaders 

Nicola Crossley
Chair of ASCL Women Leaders’ Network 

What’s new in this year’s EDI Plan? 

We plan to share free EDI case studies to help you lead this work in your own school or college. We’re convening a working group to consider constitutional change to ensure ASCL Council’s future make-up is more representative of our broader membership in terms of protected characteristics, sector and role. 

ASCL is implementing a new people strategy that will ensure we ‘walk the walk’ in our own approach, as an employer, to equality, diversity and inclusion. And our Annual Conference in March will include more about how we can lead positive change in our own settings (see www.ascl.org.uk/annualconference). 

There’s much work to be done and lots of opportunities to get involved. Please join us and together we will make a difference 

Rachael Warwick
ASCL Immediate Past President 2021-2022