Celebration of Black History Month and its relevance for Access to HE Diplomas

Black History Month celebrates the countless achievements and contributions from the black community throughout history. By honouring the legacy of influential black scholars, activists, artists and leaders, we recognise how black culture has shaped and enriched our society.

Influential black people in education

Gus John

Gus John was the first black Director of Education Services in Britain. He worked in multiple universities around the UK and later served as Associate Professor of Education at the London Centre for Leadership in Learning. He was a key figure in the development of education policies.

Yvonne Conolly

Yvonne Conolly was the first female black headteacher in 1969. She also joined a multi-ethnic team of inspectors assembled by the Inner London Education Authority. During her time there, she took an active role in helping schools reduce racism by looking at resources and policymaking. Later in life she was made a Commander of the British Empire for her services to education.

Lavinya Stennett

Lavinya Stennett is the Founder and CEO of The Black Curriculum, set up in 2019. The enterprise has worked with thousands of students and schools with the mission of teaching accessible and engaging black histories all year round. She was also awarded the Limitless Black Influence Award by Limitless Live and won in the Changemaker 2023 category for her work on the black curriculum.

These three leaders, among countless others, have made a profound impact on education and opportunities for all students. Their advocacy and innovations have helped transform schools into more diverse, supportive environments. They provide inspiration and are role models for creating positive change in education.

How to engage with Black History Month

Educate yourself

Educate yourself by reading books, watching films and listening to podcasts created by Black authors that provide perspectives on Black culture and experiences.Some examples include: 1000 Voices: Black British Changemakers (podcast), Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race (book), Black Joy (book), Hidden Figures (film), Race (film).

Talk about it

Have thoughtful conversations with friends and family about racial justice issues and ways to promote equality. Discussing these topics thoughtfully can inspire action. Here is a useful guide on how to talk to children about racism and here is an article promoting anti-racism practice to support those conversations.

Promote it

Amplify Black voices and stories by promoting Black artists, writers, business owners, and speakers on your social media platforms. Sharing their work and achievements helps increase visibility and opportunities for the Black community. 56 black men is an example of a platform which promotes black stories. This article also mentions 35 black impactful creators to follow on social media.

Access to HE

Our Access to HE Diploma (Humanities) has a range of units where students can further their understanding and knowledge around the history of the black community, including History (Black civil rights in USA) and Sociology (Civil Rights, the Individual and the Law.) If you are interested and would like to know more, enquire on our website to see if any colleges near you offer this course.