My becoming – Reflections of an EDI Lead in a school setting

'My Belonging'

The EDI lead at Beconsfield High School in the UK, Caroline Anukem, reflects on her experiences of implementing EDI in a school.

Meet Caroline Anukem, a trailblazer and passionate advocate for Equity, Diversity and inclusion. With an extensive background in law, education, public sector engagement and non-profit leadership, Caroline has dedicated over 15 years to driving positive change.

As EDI lead at Beaconsfield high School, Caroline brings a wealth of experience that transcends traditional boundaries. Her Journey includes representing the Sectary of State in presenting cases for the Home Office. Where she not only navigated legal intricacies but also assumed the pivotal role of EDI officer for the central London division. This subsidiary position equipped her with a unique perspective, showcasing her commitment to dismantling discrimination and championing true inclusion.

Caroline is not just an experienced professional; she is a catalyst for change. Her work spans various sectors, demonstrating a deep understanding of the intersections between legal frameworks, education and public service. Her passion for equity is not just a role it is a lived experience that serves as a driving force to her proactive approach in every aspect of her work.

In her career and personal life, Caroline has advocated for equity and diversity, steering the course towards a more inclusive society. Her Mantra echoes through her actions; “Driving real change, true inclusion and dismantling all aspects of Discrimination and exclusive practices.” It is a personal mission to see a world where every individual is seen, heard and valued.

Here, Caroline shares her reflections on implementing EDI in a school setting:

Once upon a time, in the 1980s village of Woolton, Liverpool, my educational journey began at Notre Dame, a Roman Catholic Grammar School with a simplicity and homogeneity that defined the era. Diversity, an unfamiliar term, seldom found its way into our vocabulary. Inclusivity, if acknowledged at all, meant conforming to a narrow mould. The notion of an EDI Lead was beyond imagination, and conversations about inclusion were but a whisper in the wind. I will definitely one day take a trip down memory lane and share my experiences.

Fast forward to the present day, where the quaint village experience meets the vibrant landscape of Beaconsfield High School. here, I am privileged to be the school’s EDI Lead. Over the years we have witnessed an extraordinary transformation. Our school, once bound by conformity, now embraces the range of backgrounds, cultures, and identities. Diversity is not just acknowledged; it is a cause for celebration. This was celebration of diversity and citizenship was ignited during our inaugural Global Citizens Week celebration. Inclusion is not just a buzzword; it is consciously embedded into the very aspect of our educational system.

The positives of this transformation are as abundant as the perspectives, worldviews, and lifestyles our students now encounter. They merge a rich foreword thing, diverse and inclusive learning experiences, the invaluable lessons of empathy, respect, and the strength derived from unity in the face of diversity. We are not merely preparing them for a world where these qualities are admirable; we are preparing them for a world where these qualities are essential.

Yet, as we bask in the glow of progress, the journey towards true equity and inclusion continues. Barriers, some dismantled, others still standing, remind us that our work is far from over. As the EDI Lead, I recognise the need for more diversity among our educators and leaders. Our curriculum must reflect a global perspective, ensuring every student feels seen and heard.

The concept of an EDI Lead, once unimaginable, now stands as a beacon. It should not be a rarity but a standard that is imperative at the core of our education system. I believe that EDI and Safe Guarding share common ground promoting a safe and secure environment.

Our aim is a society where uniqueness is embraced, where every student sees themselves reflected in their education, and where equity is not just a distant goal but a living reality.

In conclusion, the journey from the simplicity of my village education in Liverpool to the vibrant inclusivity of BHS is a testament to our progress. Yet, it serves as a reminder of how much further we can go. As an EDI Lead, my commitment is to develop a learning environment thriving on differences, not just educating minds but nurturing hearts, building lasting friendships, relationships and encompassing the British Values in our daily practices. The journey toward a more inclusive and equitable educational landscape continues, one story at a time.

Caroline Anukem is a driving force, a change-maker, and a relentless advocate for equity. Through her leadership she aims to instil the values of equity, not only in policies, but in the hearts and minds of those she works with. 

She urges you all to join her in the journey toward a more inclusive and equitable future.

Connect with Caroline on LinkedIn.

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