Leeds conference to close gender gap in education

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MORE women have been encouraged to help close the gender gap in school leadership at an event held in the city.

Leeds Beckett University joined forces with #WomenEd - a grassroots movement of education professionals who came together through Twitter - for a conference on Saturday.

It was the first of its kind held in the North in England.

Workshops were held exploring how gender equality could be promoted by schools and headteachers.

And there was also a session aimed at supporting staff who were returning from maternity leave.

Dr Damien Page, head of the School of Education and Childhood at Leeds Beckett, said: “With gender and race inequalities still a major issue in the education sector, we’re delighted to collaborate with #WomenEd. As a major provider of teacher education and research, it’s vital that Leeds Beckett plays an active role in rapidly increasing diversity in educational leadership, not just for our staff and partners but for our trainees and the young people they educate.”

“The event aims to build confidence and empower women to play a leading role in defining the future of education by creating a community and supporting people in the first and next steps of their career and allowing collaborations to enable the exchange of innovative ideas.”

Sammena Choudry, an education consultancy boss, and one of the founders of #WomenEd, was among the speakers on Saturday.

She said: “Only 37 per cent of secondary school leaders are women even though they make up three quarters of the overall school workforce.

“School leaders from BME (black and minority ethnic) communities are even less well represented. They account for three per cent of positions despite BME pupils now representing 30 per cent of the school population.”

Other speakers at the event included Tracy Dell, a headteacher at Methley Primary School in Leeds.

PIC: Tony Johnson

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