Keeping the Conversation Going: Diversity in Schools

We asked Ceri Jones, Head of Caterham School: In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, what is the School doing differently in its approach to diversity and inclusion?

Ceri says: 

Diversity and inclusion has always been a priority for schools. The events of last summer and the Black Lives Matter Movement demonstrated that for all the excellent progress that has been made in the area of diversity and inclusion over recent years, the impact, pace and range of this work in our organisations requires greater urgency with tangible and visible changes to the experiences of our pupils. The wider and welcomed activism of our pupils on a range of issues over recent years has also played a part in encouraging schools to look for additional ways of both hearing and responding to the voices of our pupils and alumni.

At Caterham we have created a Shadow Board to ensure that the views of our increasingly diverse pupil and alumni body have a role in informing and shaping the way the school thinks about current pupil experience and the future strategic direction of the school. The Shadow Board (it began life as a NextGen Board) is made up of ten alumni all aged between 18 and 30. Their remit is to challenge, scrutinise and inform the conversations that the Governing Body are having. In addition to helping shape the direction of the school, the members of the Shadow Board will also have training in and develop experience of corporate governance, change management and board meetings – in the hope and expectation that they may in future progress through to the Governing Body of this school, but also that our Shadow Board members feel empowered to look for similar opportunities in the organisations in which they work.

The genesis of this idea predated the Black Lives Matter Movement. We wanted to bring relevance and a different perspective to our conversations around issues such as sustainability, the digital transformation of the workplace, preparation for Higher Education and wellbeing. As our plans for the Shadow Board developed over the summer of 2020 a group of former pupils rightly challenged us about their recent experiences as pupils at the school. Encouraging these voices onto the Shadow Board, from where they will be able support and challenge the work we are doing has been hugely affirming and created a sense of shared endeavour.

Of course, for current pupils and parents this has also been a powerful statement of intent from the Governing Body of the school. It signals a very important message to all of our community about the willingness of the school to learn from the experience and expertise of others irrespective of status or standing and plays to a strongly held view that we all have things to learn from each other.

Pamela Leonce, Diversity Advisor at Saxton Bampfylde, shares her advice on how schools can successfully diversify for the future

Create a dedicated senior post for Diversity

To drive action and to monitor your commitments, but remember diversity belongs to everyone not just the post holder.

Engage your students

What are their views / insights? Can they see things that staff and governors are missing?

Diversify your governors and teaching staff

To bring additional views and insights and to better reflect the wider student population.

Review your recruitment processes

 Are there any barriers or blind-spots preventing you from being more diverse?

Design a diverse future for your school

Build connections with people from diverse communities, as well as allies who can support your diversity ambitions.

Finally…….keep the conversation going

This might mean bringing in someone to hold facilitated EDI conversations but commit to becoming more comfortable talking about race, especially at board and senior team level.


Saxton Bampfylde is committed to diversifying leadership.  Our diversity initiatives are proven to offer clear and results-based approaches to help our clients find, keep and enhance their leaders of tomorrow. For a discussion to find out how we can help you, please get in touch.


Social Mobility Day 2024

Concern Worldwide (UK) appoints new Executive Director

Richard Greenhalgh succeeded by Christian Brodie as Chair of United Learning’s Group Board

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew announces Susan Raikes as Director of Wakehurst

We have moved! Our new London location

Managing Risk in Professional Services: It’s not just about protecting the firm, but enabling it – Interview with Alastair Levy

Crystal Palace Park Trust welcomes Victoria Pinnington as new CEO

Nadia Fall appointed as new Artistic Director of The Young Vic Theatre

How lawyers are coming to terms with their own ‘Now and Then’

Nicola Dudley announced as new Head of Queen Margaret’s School for Girls

Gordon Seabright appointed new Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens

The General Pharmaceutical Council appoints new Chief Strategy Officer

A healthy perspective on executive search

Foot Anstey LLP appoints Non-Executive Director

South By Southwest comes to London

Saxton Bampfylde in action with charity Smart Works

Sue Ryder announces new Chief Executive

What will healthcare look like over the coming decade? Interview with Gabrielle Mathews

Liz Truss was correct. Well, on one fundamental point

General Dental Council announces new Chief Executive and Registrar

Andrew Comben appointed new CEO of Britten Pears Arts

Dr Nicholas Cullinan OBE appointed as new Director of the British Museum

Saxton Bampfylde partners with Family Business UK

Professor Robert Mokaya appointed Provost and DVC at University of Sheffield

30 years on from the first Code: A personal account of the Corporate Governance Revolution

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

Steering the family business forward: Interview with Emma Fox, CEO of Berry Bros & Rudd

Leadership in the age of AI: CEO Breakfast with Doug Gurr, Director of the National History Museum

Sustainability Dinner with speaker James Cameron, Chair of Crown Agents

What will healthcare look like over the coming decade? Interview with Nigel Edwards

Middlesex University announces its new Vice-Chancellor

SafeLives appoints new CEO

Do the right thing: ESG in 2024 – Interview with Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO of Lamp House Strategy

A Healthy Perspective Podcast – Helen Buckingham, Nuffield Trust

New GPhC Council members appointed for 2024 and 2025

RICS senior governance appointments

An Independent Mind: Sharpening the role of a law firm NED

CLCH appoints new Director of Strategy, Partnerships and Integration

Into Film appoints Fiona Evans as new CEO

An evening for current and aspiring non-executives with Kenny Imafidon

V&A announces Director of Collections and Chief Curator

RNLI appoints new leader to take charity into third century of lifesaving

Erika Lewis appointed CEO at Connected Places Catapult

Alex Frazer Announced as the New Head of Bancroft’s

Sue Baillie appointed as Woldingham’s new Head

Royal Hospital School appoints new Head

The University of Manchester appoints Professor Duncan Ivison as next President & Vice-Chancellor

Championing the Mission – Interview with Jonathan Morgan

Quadrant Chambers appoints Sarah Longden as new COO

New Oasis Community Learning Chief Executive Announced

Rachel Kent made Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner

Steering the family business forward: Interview with Paul Drechsler CBE

Indhu Rubasingham appointed as Director of the National Theatre

Northumbria University, Newcastle appoints new members to Board of Governors

Professor Tom Crick joins DCMS as Chief Scientific Adviser

Norwich Theatre appoints Tom Sleigh as new Chair

MOSL announces Cliff Kamara as new Board member

Saxton Bampfylde welcomes Partner Hannah Scarisbrick back to the firm

Saxton Bampfylde ranked in Financial Times UK’s Leading Recruiters 2024

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation and Association Welcomes Martin Houghton-Brown as Secretary General

Royal British Legion Announces New Director General

English Heritage announces New Blue Plaques Panel Members

Paul Ridd named Director of Edinburgh International Film Festival

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra announces Lord Tony Hall as new Chair

Team Consulting appoints new CEO

UK Civil Aviation Authority Appoints Rob Bishton as the new Chief Executive

The Box appoints Rebecca Bridgman as Head of Collections and Programme

English Heritage appoints Dr Nick Merriman as its new Chief Executive

Breadth and depth: leading across the regulatory landscape

Who’s Moving in Healthcare – August-September 2023

Wise counsel: bringing an external perspective to Higher Education

Looking through a different lens: a scientific scope from academia to government

Outside In: Leveraging External Perspectives in Higher Education

Samori Gambrah announced as Chair for New Art Exchange

Chris Auty appointed as new Director at London Film School

Cherian Mathews appointed as new Chief Executive of HelpAge International

Dr Dave Smith takes helm as UK’s National Technology Adviser

Now Teach appoints new CEO

A Healthy Perspective Podcast – David Hare MBE, CEO of Independent Healthcare Providers Network

Dr Paul Thompson appointed as British Council Chair

Appointment of new CEO for GLF Schools

Bas Javid appointed new Director General of Immigration Enforcement

New CEO appointed for the UK’s national synchrotron, Diamond Light Source

University of Nottingham appoints new Pro-Vice-Chancellor for its Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Béatrice Butsana-Sita appointed new CEO of the British Red Cross

Michael Plaut OBE announced as new Chair of Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Will Gompertz announced as the Soane’s new Director

Who’s Moving in Healthcare – June-July 2023

Dr Ghazwa Alwani-Starr appointed as new COO at University of Bath

PA Housing announces five new non-executive members to join board

Storyhouse appoints new CEO: Annabel Turpin

Claire Wood Hill announced as new CEO of The National Brain Appeal

OnBoard Programme broadens the horizon for board membership

James Williams announced as the next Director of the Royal College of Music

A Healthy Perspective Podcast – Sam Jones

#7 Road to Recovery: Integration, inclusion and innovation in the Healthcare sector

Who’s Moving in Healthcare – April-May 2023

SCIS appoints new Chief Executive

Talk with Sir Stephen Wall to celebrate Pride 2023

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week 2023