Break the Cycle Conference 7 November 2020

What we cannot imagine cannot come into being

‘Eradicating racism and white supremacy in education and society’ is the aim of the ‘Break the Cycle’ movement and we are excited to confirm our keynote speakers, Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol and Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health Regional Director for London.

Join us for our third Break the Cycle event, as we seek practical ways to move forward towards racial equality in education leadership. The online conference starts at10am and finishes at 1pm and there will be an opportunity to ask questions of our key speakers. Tickets are free from Eventbrite.


Keynote speakers

Marvin Rees

Marvin Rees is the Mayor of Bristol, the first elected mayor of black African heritage in Europe. He was propelled into the global news  when, in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the statue of Edward Colston was thrown into Bristol harbour.

Kevin Fenton

Prof. Fenton is Public Health Regional Director for London. Whilst training in medicine at the University of West Indies, Kevin began to contemplate a commitment to public health – one which has led to him playing a pivotal role in shaping public health in the United Kingdom.

Speaker bios

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.

Our objectives

In 2019 Oasis convened Break the Cycle, a national grassroots movement committed to promoting Black, Asian and minority ethnic leadership across education and youth work in the UK.

The Break the Cycle Manifesto is an action plan for all schools and their communities as we work to challenge and change the cultures that hold back the next generation of BAME leadership.

The numbers speak for themselves

What we cannot imagine cannot come into being, says feminist author bell hooks. Which is why Break The Cycle is working hard to ensure BAME students have appropriate role models at school.
% of BAME pupils in UK schools
% of BAME teachers in UK schools
No. of BAME head teachers/principals

Under-representation of BAME leaders

The current massive under-representation of BAME leaders within children and young people’s work  – especially at senior levels – fails all our children and teachers as well as our whole society. This must change in order to:

  • Tackle racism in and beyond our schools
  • Encourage BAME students to aspire to the highest levels of leadership
  • Address the unconscious bias that ‘leadership is white’

The Break the Cycle movement is supported by a Manifesto and an Action Plan for local communities. These are designed to help individual schools and our ‘local task groups’ challenge and change the cultures that hold back the next generation of BAME leadership.

Change is already underway

The Break the Cycle Manifesto produced by the 2019 conference is an action plan for all schools – primary and secondary – committed to challenging and changing the cultures and systems that hold back the next generation of BAME leadership.

Since the first Break the Cycle conference in 2019, local groups have been meeting in schools, tackling conscious and unconscious race inequality in school infrastructures and practices – from recruitment to 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.

Further Resources

Use the links below for further information and resources.

Steve Chalke’s article: ‘How a Racist Education Produces a Racist Culture’ in the Times Educational SupplementView the website
Tessy Ojo, CEO Diana Awards, My StorySee video
Dwayne Brandy, De-colonising the CurriculumSee video
Lord Michael Hastings, I Can't BreatheSee video
Prof. Robert Beckford, How a Racist Education Produces a Racist CultureSee video