Deep Social Justice in Action: Tackling disadvantage and discrimination

Angelina Idun, Director at SSAT, reflects on our continued fight for deep social justice, while looking forward to the launch of the Summer Series 2022 in April. We are delighted to be joined for this year’s series by Professor David Olusoga OBE, Professor Andy Hargreaves and Maggie Aderin-Pocock, as we explore the theme Deep Social Justice in Action: Tackling disadvantage and discrimination.

“Education is meant to level the playing field, not kick people off it” (Rt Hon David Lammy MP)

At SSAT’s 2019 conference, “Fighting for Deep Social Justice” Rt Hon David Lammy reflected on these questions:

  • Why do the richest 1% of people in the UK own almost a quarter of the country’s wealth?
  • Why did over half a million people use food banks last year?
  • Why do the average incomes of the poorest fifth continue to drop while the average incomes of the richest fifth continue to rise?

The MP for Tottenham acknowledged that there are only so many schools that can respond to these facts while so many hidden inequalities exist systemically. Lammy urged and encouraged school leaders to further their efforts and actions to do what is in their power to achieve the equity that gives agency and opportunity, lifting individuals and communities.

Little did we know then, that within weeks of calls to action from Lammy and other speakers at this event, a global pandemic would set in. This, plus events such as George Floyd’s murder have challenged school communities and wider society in unimaginable ways. The last two years have highlighted, in so many ways, the essential, invaluable role that staff working in our schools have played for a long time and continue to play.

In the summer of 2021, speakers at SSAT’s Summer Series event “What now for learners?” shared research, statistics and evidence of a widening achievement gap. They also provided insights into how increased levels of disadvantage, be it financial, social, emotional, or cultural, continue to make it extremely difficult for affected children, young people and families in our school communities, to succeed. Teachers and leaders across the SSAT network are all too aware of the scale of the challenge before us if we are to “…focus on a life well lived for all students, not only for some.” (Stephen Tierney, SSAT Summer Series 2021)

Tackling disadvantage, discrimination and closing the achievement gap continue to be immense challenges for educators everywhere. Our response cannot be a “one size fits all” approach.

The SSAT Summer Series 2022 will bring together leaders from across the network to share examples of what’s working in their different contexts and how they are collaborating and finding evidence based, practical solutions to achieve equity for the children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. These events will be an opportunity to showcase and celebrate successful practice that relates to the areas we will be focusing on.

Book your place now

Free to all SSAT members join us for the following Summer Series events:

Pre-recorded online – The role of education in achieving Deep Social Justice
Keynote speaker: Professor Andy Hargreaves

Online – Creating anti-racist school communities
Keynote speaker: Professor David Olusoga OBE
28 April 2022, 3:30 – 6:00pm

Online – What makes the greatest difference for a child or young person who is disadvantaged, vulnerable or in crisis?
19 May 2022, 3:30 – 6:00pm

In-person* – Learning, teaching and raising aspirations: Keys to tackling disadvantage and discrimination
Keynote speaker: Maggie Aderin-Pocock
7 July 2022, 10:00am – 3:00pm
*Free to secondary members only

Book your place now

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