Young Black Men: Promoting Inclusive Practices

The Tomlinson Centre, Queensbridge Road, E8 3ND
Thursday 7 February, 2019, 9am – 3.45pm


This is a one-day conference to exchange ideas on how schools are developing opportunities and finding better ways to improve outcomes and life experiences of black young men and women.

A range of education leaders and experts from different settings in Hackney are sharing their work on challenging unconscious bias and promoting inclusive leadership. Speakers include Headteachers, academics, agencies and charities. The day is a predominantly school-led event.

The conference draws on Hackney’s ten year programme on tackling disproportionality in attainment and exclusions, which began in December 2015. The day will start with a keynote address on Fostering Black British Cultural Identity: A Challenge to Schools. Following this there will be workshops, promising to provoke thinking and showcase how collaboration creates possibilities for improving outcomes for black pupils through developing an inclusive educational ethos.

These workshops will challenge participants to reflect and think critically. Attendees will be able to consider what opportunities are available to drive excellence through inclusive practices in their schools, curriculum development, mentoring, well-being, working with parents, multi-agency engagement and transition.

The conference aims to identify areas where action can be taken through which practitioners can enhance the experience of black young men and women and ways in which the impact of bias can be reduced.

Workshops and their themes are not ordered by importance – they are interlinked.  Stakeholders will agree that the focus of action must continue moving beyond classroom.

By the end of the day, participants will

  • be able to challenge their own perceptions
  • know about what others are doing to improve outcomes for black young men and women
  • have the courage and starting points on which they can develop inclusive schools


8.30 – Registration and coffee

9.00Welcome: Introduction and scene setting

Annie Gammon, Director of Education, Hackney Learning Trust
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, London Borough of Hackney, Deputy Mayor, Lead Member for schools and children

9.25 – Thinkpiece: Negotiating Black Identity – The challenge for schools

Dr Richard Bramwell, Lecturer in Media and Communications, Loughborough University

10.00Workshop Theme One: How the curriculum can be more inclusive for Young Black learners

  • St. John the Baptist Primary School – Tom Avery, Deputy Headteacher
  • London Fields Primary School – Caroline Tyson, Headteacher
  • New Wave Federation – Nicole Reid, Interim Executive Headteacher
  • Haggerston School – Nic Taylor-Mullings, Assistant Headteacher
  • Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form – Joanna Bryne, Assistant Headteacher and Adisa Stephen Ezeocha, School Poet

11.15 – Tea/coffee break

11.35Workshop Theme Two: Parental engagement, multiagency working and student mentoring

  • St Matthias Primary School – Orlene Badu, Headteacher
  • Cardinal Pole Catholic School – Courtney Brown, Parent Engagement
  • Hackney CSV – Kristine Wellington, Strategic Lead Safeguarding and Debra Robinson, Vice Principal of Mossbourne Community Academy
  • Voyage Charity – Paul Anderson, CEO
  • WITHINSIGHT – mentoring young black men into University – Christine Kinnear, CEO and founder

13.00 – Lunch and networking

13.45 Panel questions

Two headteachers, Dr Richard Bramwell, Paul Anderson, Voyage, Kristine Wellington, Hackney, senior officers, Hackney Learning Trust, and representation from young people from our local community

14.20Workshop Theme Three: Whole school approaches to transition, securing pupil engagement, Black Britishness

  • Cardinal Pole Catholic School and Daubeney Primary School – Peter McEvoy, Assistant Headteacher, and Gregory Logan, Head of School
  • Clapton Girls Academy – Louise Barnes, Assistant Headteacher
  • Black Britishness in classrooms and playgrounds – Dr Richard Bramwell
  • Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form – Joanna Byrne, Assistant Headteacher
  • Shoreditch Park Primary School – Penny Smith, Headteacher
  • The Bridge Academy – Chris Brown, Principal

15.30 – Closing remarks and end of conference

View the full programme


Delegates are invited to attend one workshop from each of the three themes. Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and workshops will run according to demand.

Workshop Theme One: How the curriculum can be more inclusive for Young Black learners

Choose from:

Tom Avery, Deputy Headteacher, St John the Baptist Primary School
This workshop explores inequities the re-developed curriculum at St John the Baptist School is designed to combat – institutional racism, gender inequality, inherited privilege –strictures that children are rising above. Participants will consider how the National Curriculum can be utilised and re-imagined. You will learn of classrooms and curriculum provision which invites children to dream bigger, fight harder and reach higher.

Caroline Tyson, Headteacher/Steph Daley, Leadership Team, London Fields Primary School
Working together for over 6 years, Caroline Tyson and Steph Daley have developed a bespoke curriculum to match the needs of their community and have endeavoured to increase opportunities which build cultural capital and self-esteem where possible. The workshop will focus on the development of that curriculum and the coherent and cohesive approach the school has taken.

Nicholas Taylor-Mullings, Assistant Headteacher, Haggerston School
This workshop invites participants to explore the differences in outcomes between young black men and their counterparts and consider which disparities are diminishing and those that require work to be reduced. Participants will be offered the opportunity to draw on the principle of “explain or change” presently being developed at Haggerston in the area of subject setting, and begin to develop actions to reduce inequalities in the priority areas they identify.

Joanna Bryne, Assistant Headteacher/Adisa Stephen Ezeocha, School Poet, Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form
Jo Bryne is the school lead on closing the gap, Key Stage 3/4 intervention and whole school literacy, in Hackney’s largest secondary school. Adisa is an award-winning performance poet who has delivered creative writing workshops nationally and internationally for over twenty years. This workshop will focus on engaging and inspiring students with the school curriculum, through poetry and working outside the box – how developing language skills engages learners.

Nicole Reid, Interim Executive Headteacher, New Wave Federation
‘Get to know me before you teach me’ is an initiative introduced at the beginning of the 2018 academic year at the New Wave Federation. The focus of the initiative was to understand the complex and unique make- up of the classes we teach at all of our schools. It is self-evident that teachers are much more effective in all aspects of their role when they are able to make real and meaningful connections with the children they teach. Working as part of a diverse community, it is essential teachers are able to make these connections with children no matter their background.

This session will firstly explain how New Wave Federation was able to roll out this initiative, as well as ensure its enduring success. It will also give delegates practical suggestions about how they can work within a diverse community of learners in order to maximise the impact of efforts in the classroom.

Workshop Theme Two: Parental engagement, multiagency working and student mentoring

Choose from:

Orlene Badu, Headteacher, St Matthias Primary School
St Matthias Primary School team has built very strong links with hard to reach families which has supported outcomes of their pupils. Please come along to hear Orlene, a senior leader for 10 years, speak about the ‘Suite of Activities’ that they used to engage their hard to reach parents and the impact that it had on attainment, well- being and parent aspirations.

Courtney Brown, Parent Engagement, and Peter McEvoy, Assistant Headteacher, Cardinal Pole Catholic School
The workshop will get participants thinking about how parental engagement can be developed and enhanced in their particular school context so that we can ‘bring the school into the community and the community into the school.’ Starting with an attempt to answer the basic question of why parental engagement is so important and ending with the beginnings of an action plan that participants can take back to their schools, it is hoped that participants will leave enthused and energised to create the kind of school ethos that is invitational, welcoming and fundamentally supportive.

Paul Anderson, CEO, Voyage Charity
This workshop will help participants understand the following key elements of the Voyage approach:

  • The importance of emotional literacy.
  • The use of mentoring to achieve deeper working relationships and an on-going personal action plan moving forward for the mentor.
  • An exploration of the key holistic components within mentoring that gain longer-term results with the young people: effective emotional literacy skills, effective communication skills, interpersonal skills, broad understanding of young person’s lifestyle, connection to parents/carers/family representatives.

Christine Kinnear, CEO and founder, WITHINSIGHT – Mentoring young black men into University
Purposeful mentoring offers many advantages to both its recipients and to the mentor. This interactive workshop will walk you through a live example of a mentoring scheme. You will get an opportunity to:

  • Hear about the positive impacts that mentoring can have
  • Learn about the challenges of running a mentoring programme
  • Reflect on the place for mentoring within your own school

Kristine Wellington, Strategic Lead Safeguarding, Hackney CSV and Debra Robinson, Vice Principal of Mossbourne Community Academy
Kristine, Head of Safeguarding, Children and Families at Hackney CVS, has a 30 year track record of support to the charity sector and is a national outcomes Champion. Over the past 8 years she has supported local BAMER charities to increase African heritage parents’ participation in their children’s education, to collaborate with public sector experts and to conduct parent’s insights research. The Breaking the Barriers workshop aims to improve participants’ understanding of the real influences on parents,  know how to improve participation in their children’s education and the benefits of adopting a new Community InReach approach to reach harder to reach parents.

Workshop Theme Three: Whole school approaches to transition, securing pupil engagement, Black Britishness

Choose from:

Peter McEvoy, Assistant Headteacher, Cardinal Pole Catholic School/Gregory Logan, Head of School, Daubeney Primary School
This workshop looks at two Hackney schools that are working collaboratively to improve the transition experience between Year 6 and Year 7. They will share the ways they’ve been working together as well as what those experiences have taught them. It is hoped that more ‘joined up’ thinking surrounding transition between primaries and secondaries may lead to reduced exclusions and more positive educational outcomes for pupils and parents.

Louise Barnes, Assistant Headteacher, Clapton Girls Academy
The session will focus on ideas and strategies on how to reduce the disproportionality of Black African and Black Caribbean students including students of mixed heritage, in lower ability classes. We will look at various strategies on how you can involve staff in the decision making process and how using your school data can support this initiative.

Dr Richard Bramwell, Black Britishness in classrooms and playgrounds
This workshop will address various ways in which black British culture is marginalised in contrasting organisational contexts. The session will challenge participants to think critically about how black social and cultural practices are understood and valued within these contexts and to consider what opportunities there are for driving excellence through inclusive practices in their schools.

The workshop will include discussion of opportunities to incorporate black popular culture in the curriculum, solicit identification through inclusive behaviour management strategies, and drive academic attainment by building on young people’s subcultural capital.

Joanne Byrne, Assistant Headteacher, Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form
This workshop will reflect on the development of a school initiative, the Progression Project, into a whole school approach to support the achievement of black boys. Consideration will be given to ensuring that mentoring is effective – what’s the why? How to engage young people, parents, and staff with mentoring, developing emotional intelligence and promoting self-awareness. Making mentoring sustainable – whole school impact.

Penny Smith, Headteacher, Shoreditch Park Primary School
Penny Smith has been the Headteacher at Shoreditch Park for 8 years. During this time the school has transformed from being on the list of ‘200 least performing schools’ to outstanding. The school is recognised as a Centre of Excellence for Inclusion (IQM) and a Rights Respecting Schools Level Gold. Engagement and behaviour in the school is recognised as exemplary and often used as a model of best practice for Inclusion.

Shoreditch Park have developed a bespoke teaching and learning model which empowers all pupil’s to be very effective learners. This approach is firmly focused on understanding the impact of social and emotional cognition in securing engagement and accelerated progress.

In the workshop we will outline the principles of ASPIRE and developing a whole school approach to securing active pupil engagement from every pupil in all lessons.

Chris Brown, Principal, The Bridge Academy
Chris Brown is the Principal of The Bridge Academy, Hackney. His entire teaching career has been based in East London schools, including eight years as a Senior Leader.

This workshop will be based on The Importance of Artefacts: How we have used shared language and a warm/strict approach to simultaneously raise expectations and reduce exclusions.


Dr Richard Bramwell

Dr Richard Bramwell’s interests are primarily focused around the areas of black British vernacular and popular cultures.  He was awarded a PhD in Sociology by the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to joining Loughborough Dr Bramwell was a Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, where he conducted research on the experiences of black men in English high security prisons. His book, UK Hip-Hop, Grime and the City, examines the aesthetic, cultural and commercial practices of black and white, working-class youths in London. Through a combination of ethnography and close textual analysis, this interdisciplinary study considers how young men and women use rap to accommodate themselves to their conditions of urban dwelling and investigates how they contest their marginalisation through their collaborative cultural work.

Dr Bramwell has written for The Guardian newspaper and contributed to programmes for BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 1Xtra.

Councillor Anntoinette Bramble

After beginning her career in primary education in 2006, specialising in special educational needs and becoming an assistant head teacher, Anntoinette was elected as a ward councillor in 2010, first becoming the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services in Hackney in 2014, before being appointed Deputy Mayor of Hackney in 2016. In addition to her responsibilities as the Deputy Mayor and lead member for children’s social care, education, and young people, Anntoinette chairs Hackney’s Corporate Parenting Board, co-chairs the Improving Outcomes for Young Black Men Board, whose work was a finalist for the Innovation in Politics Awards 2017, and chairs the Local Government Association Children and Young People Board. Anntoinette is also a member of the House of Lords Windrush Advisory Panel.