I started Black Teachers Connect as I embarked into my training year as a teacher at the IOE. As I made my applications for ITT, I couldn’t find many Black teachers to share their experiences and to gain advice from. This surprised me but also gave me the idea to investigate further. Figures obtained from the Department for Education (DfE) show just 7.6% of teachers in state schools in England are people of colour compared with almost 25% of pupils. If we proceed to breakdown figures even further Black teachers, specifically those from an African or Caribbean background make up around 2.5% of the teacher workforce here in the UK. This has increased by around 0.5% since I began Black Teachers Connect. The statistics are shocking, but they also relate to why people may have had such few Black teachers growing up; I only had two.
As a result of this I started to think about how great it would be to have a safe space for Black teachers and those who work in education to come together, to speak, to vent, to share resources and genuinely just have fun. So, I decided to create Black Teachers Connect. Black Teachers Connect is a community for Black teachers and those that work in education. Although based in the UK, our community of teachers spans worldwide. We focus on giving Black educators the opportunity to connect, learn and inspire one another.
Since starting out we have had the opportunities to work with BBC and Huffington Post, raising the awareness of the lack of Black educators and the impact that this can have on students.
We have worked with trainee teachers and NQT’s through hosting our popular NQT webinar and we have had the pleasure of hosting a SEN workshop to help teachers with tailoring to the different needs of students in their classrooms. We hosted a popular series over on IGTV called the Leadership Series which gave an insight into the experiences of Black Senior Leaders and Headteachers. We also continue to release our monthly newsletter. We continue to support teachers behind the scenes with issues and problems they may be facing in their schools.
Rhia Gibbs, Founder and CEO