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Racism is shocking but not a surprise

The drive for change must come from the BME community. I am a senior leader in a school, but this has come after a hard slog.

I have campaigned via my professional association on this issue over the years and I'm convinced that a multifaceted approach is needed. Work needs to be done with the people in positions to make appointments, as well as encouraging competent BME staff.

I would urge BME teachers not to let the excessive workload dissuade them from applying for positions that you are capable of executing. True, you will not always get the support that another colleague might get. There will be resentment and lack of co-operation and support from some colleagues. There will be jibes about tokenism - but you need to be strong and self-confident.

I am not advocating patience. On the contrary - if you remain silent you will continue to be ignored. If you apply for a post and feel that you have been unfairly treated then challenge it. Ask for the reasons that you were not appointed or given the opportunity. Take on board the constructive comments, then go away and do something to improve. If you then reapply, the same reasons cannot be used to deny you.

I made a breakthrough to a senior position years later than I feel was right, but I feel my presence has served as some form of encouragement to other staff.

ashanti7, From the forums (www.tes.co.ukendemic).

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