Break the Cycle Conference


"What we cannot imagine cannot come into being"*  

Eradicating Racism and White Supremacy in Education and Society

Online conference on Saturday, 7 November 2020 from 10am-7pm

* quote from bell hooks, author, feminist and social activist


'The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation becomes the philosophy of government in the next.' That quote, which comes - perhaps surprisingly -from Abraham Lincoln, might sum up the goals of 'Break The Cycle' movement. Education – both formal and informal – exists to open doors of opportunity where they have remained firmly shut and even bolted. Rightly understood, its mission is to destroy any barrier that stands in the way of equality and access.

The battle for seats in the boardroom and on leadership teams will first be won in the classroom, as well as in youth and children’s clubs across the country. Join us as we imagine and plan for an inclusive and integrated future for our schools and communities, where every child can flourish. At our third online Break The cycle conference we will be discussing:

  • How to recognise and dismantle structural racism and create an anti-racist approach within our schools and in children and youth work settings
  • How to create pathways of progression for BAME children and young people beyond education
  • How to turn aspiration into availability for BAME students
  • How to create leadership structures that are truly inclusive
  • How to recruit, support and retain more BAME staff and leaders in order to kick-start the transformation

Our speakers

Marvin Rees is the Mayor of Bristol, the first elected mayor of black African heritage in Europe. Marvin was propelled into the forefront of the news globally when, in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the statue of Edward Colston was thrown into Bristol harbour. Since then he has announced a commission into Bristol's history, to create a wider understanding of the city's history, including its struggles around class, race and gender.

Professor Kevin Fenton is Public Health Regional Director for London. Growing up in Jamaica, it was whilst doing his medical training at the University of West Indies that Kevin began to contemplate a commitment to public health - a commitment that has since led him into playing a pivotal role in shaping public health in the United Kingdom.

Dr Gabriella Beckles-Raymond is a multidisciplinary philosopher and educator, specialising in intersectional justice such as race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, disabilities, immigration, age and other categories of exclusion. Gabriella works as a consultant as well as teaching at Canterbury Christ College.

Mandy Coalter has recently Founded Talent Architects, having previously served as Director of People at United Learning - one of the largest school groups in the UK – where she was responsible for HR, Talent Management, Leadership Development and Marketing and Communications.

Dwain Brandy is the Equality, Diversity and Behaviour Lead at Oasis Academy MediaCityUK in Salford. He is involved in both the development of local as well as national policy and practice around race equality and diversity in education.

Tickets: Free. Please book through Eventbrite at


What is Break The Cycle?  

Break The Cycle is a national grassroots movement, open to all, and hosted by Oasis Charitable Trust. Our objectives are to: 

1. Create racial equity and justice across society through formal and informal education and educational leadership.

2. Enfranchise, empower and enable people of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage to lead in education, public life and business as well as to critically challenge and counteract the current deficit model.

The Break the Cycle Manifesto (see download below), produced in March 2019 by the first national conference, is an action plan for all schools – primary and secondary – committed to challenging and changing the cultures and systems that perpetuate racial inequality in the educational system and that hold back the next generation of BAME leadership.

Since the first Break the Cycle conference, local groups have been meeting in schools tackling conscious and unconscious race inequality in school infrastructures and practices - from curriculum and pedagogy to recruitment and leadership training. Within Oasis, progress is being made thanks in part to the impact of Break the Cycle. In the last twelve months, five African, Caribbean and Asian leaders have been appointed to principal, associate principal, and deputy principal positions.  The proportion of BAME participants on Oasis’s annual National Professional Qualification for Headteachers course has increased by thirty-six percentage points. 

Steve Chalke MBE, Founder of Oasis and Break the Cycle says, 'We all have to work for this – black, brown and white – if we’re going to get it done. By bringing together activists, experts, and members of the education community who care about righting this wrong, we will contribute to turning the tide of history.'


Resources from the July 2020 conference 

Black Lives Matter: Implications for Education, Teacher Training and Recruitment’ Professor Robert Beckford, documentary maker & Scholar at Canterbury Christ Church University

Professor Robert Beckford: Q & A session

My Story: Tessy Ojo, CEO, Diana Award

I Can't Breathe: Lord Michael Hastings, Chancellor of Regent's University London

Let's Take Action: Zoe Thompson and Joshua Oladimeji

What Next? Dwain Brandy, Mandy Coalter and Dr Gabriella Beckles-Raymond 

Times Educational Supplement 'How a Racist Education Produces a Racist Culture' by Steve Chalke Recruitment specialist Talent Architects supports Break the Cycle, helping schools become a great place to work and attract the very best teachers, leaders and support staff 


Oasis Charitable Trust is a Company Limited by Guarantee (no. 2818823) and a Registered Charity (no. 1026487) Registered Office: 1 Kennington Road, London SE1 7QP