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Lessons I’ve Learned As A Black Headteacher In The UK

Being born in the UK, I was often reminded that I was afforded many opportunities due to the journeys my maternal and paternal families took to be here. There were many barriers, but as a family we thrived.

My first encounters within the British education system taught me that I was at once forgettable, invisible and yet I would always be seen. As the only black girl in my class throughout my entire primary education, I was hypervisible through one of two lenses.

Black children were largely seen as dangerously behaved or positively average. I fell in the positively average category. No matter how hard I worked at school, even being one of the best at our spelling tests week in and week out, I was always told there was more I could do.

Never quite good enough, never enough to celebrate and praise my success, I learned very quickly that there was no point working hard. My hard work would never be valued or rewarded, unlike my white peers who could do no wrong and were celebrated for everything.