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LGBT school leadership initiative receives funding

Published: 20 May 2019 at 16:00

School sign

Collaboration between education providers encourages teachers to take next step

An initiative that encourages LGBT teachers to strive for senior positions has received an extension of Government funding.

Research by Anglia Ruskin University found that 90 per cent of the cohort that started out on the Courageous Leaders project achieved their goal of promotion within a year.

Courageous Leaders is a collaboration between Anglia Ruskin University, Wickford Teaching Schools Alliance Essex, Long Road Sixth Form College Cambridge and Burnt Mill Academy Trust Harlow. 

The programme is designed around the values promoting inclusion, celebrating diversity, accepting difference, challenging the status quo, and achieving social justice. It provides mentoring, training and support for LGBT aspiring school leaders over the course of a year, with the aim of helping them achieve promotion.

Courageous Leaders has worked with around 30 teachers from across the UK since it was established in 2016, and this year will take on its first international cohort, Courageous Leaders (China). 

The Department for Education had initially agreed to fund the programme for the first three years, but has now decided to extend its funding of £1,000 per teacher, meaning the initiative can continue into a fourth year.

One alumnus of the programme, who went on to become a headteacher, said: 
“The network of people I met through the programme made me feel braver and more able to make further leaps up the career ladder.  As a direct result of this programme, I had the confidence to pursue my dream of becoming a Head of School.”

In addition to helping LGBT teachers seek and gain leadership roles, Courageous Leaders encourages teachers to be their authentic selves in the workplace and be role models to their students. 

A teacher who achieved his aim of becoming a Head of Department said: 
“As a result of this course I feel more open and confident at school. I have set up the school’s Equality and Diversity society, and am much more open about my personal life. I have also organised the school’s first ‘diversity week’ and have confidently challenged staff and students who were resistant to taking part.”

One of the programme’s founders, Dr Catherine Lee, of Anglia Ruskin, said: 
“Young people need access to diverse role models, committed teachers and authentic school leaders. 

“At a time when the average length of service for a headteacher in the UK is just three years, Courageous Leaders demonstrates that specific LGBT leadership programmes present an important vehicle for improving the diversity of teacher leaders, and facilitating school cultures which enable LGBT teachers to be themselves and flourish within the profession.”

Places are available for the 2019/20 programme. For more information, visit http://www.courageousleaders.org.uk/page7.html