Key Voices #103 – ‘Exploring Ethnicity: School Business Leadership in England’ with ISBL and ABBLed

“People are now feeling empowered to speak out and say “hey this isn’t right”. A lot of people from the BAME community go through these things all the time and write them off as “that’s the way it is”, “that’s what I have to deal with”, “that’s part of life” and from a very young age you just think that the way it is. Now people are feeling empowered to say “I can speak up against this”, “this is not the treatment I should expect”… now there’s an appetite to push forward, looking around and seeing allies who are willing to fight the fight together.”

This week we talk to Cheryl Campbell, Business, Finance and Operations Director at Thomas Tallis School, Founder of ABBLed (Association BAME Business Leaders in Education) and Stephen Morales, CEO at ISBL, about the recently released ‘Exploring Ethnicity: School Business Leadership in England’ report.  We acknowledge that the report found very limited BAME representation in the school business profession and look at practical ways it can be increased. We also think about the lack of visibility of the school business profession and the ways in which that could be addressed.

We talk about: 
  • Cheryl’s journey into school business leadership 
  • Why she created ABBLed and how it works with ISBL 
  • The need for parity of esteem for school business leaders alongside leaders of teaching and learning 
  • How to attract talent into the school business profession, including the importance of different routes in and wider access to training and qualifications
  • Why it is important for BAME individuals to tell their stories, as those interviewed for the research have done, so others can understand the impact of their actions or their silence 
  • How now is a time for us all to reflect and strive to do better
  • Potential ways SBLs from BAME backgrounds can progress in their careers, including mentoring, training and becoming a governor 
  • The importance of role models 
  • The future for ABBled and its collaboration with ISBL


You can read the full Exploring Ethnicity School Business Leadership in England report here

Follow ABBLed on Twitter here and learn more about its work here 

As discussed in the interview, you can also request a mentor here

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(please note: iTunes takes a little longer to update, so if you can’t see our episode there, please use Spotify or the embedded player above.)

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