Every Day's A School Day
Five reasons why Inclusion WORKS for Schools and for YOU
Yesterday, I learnt more about inclusion in the walls of a primary school than you may imagine.
Inclusion is not a mythical beast to be coveted and craved. It just needs a change of mindset, and change in conversation.
To create an inclusive environment we need to learn from those who already deliver it. My aspirational TEDx called for us to collectively tackle stereotypes that harm, to unleash potential by focusing on individual strengths and removing barriers to reaching our potential. I want us to work as Equal Allies to equalise, recognising gender does not exclude men, race does not exclude white and sexuality does not exclude straight. So when supporters around the world kept mentioning one name with dogged consistency it could not be ignored. The name is Daniel Sobel.
We had discussed our shared vision for a while but today was the first time I’ve seen him doing what gained this global celebrity - he is The Inclusion Expert and his speciality is education.
Working with over 100 local authorities in the UK, in over two thousand schools around the world, his methodology transcends geography, culture and income. With him, school leaders report a happier, healthier workforce, better staff retention, financial savings AND improved results.
A wise, sometimes-sweary, often-funny and exceptionally talented man, he demands flexibility in implementation but has three demands:
Inclusion must take less time, money and stress than the status quo.
Inclusion must be immediately visible.
Inclusion must be measurable.
My own connections in policy, media and executive leadership sometimes question why I am so passionate about explaining the benefits of Daniel’s work. Surely I could just copy what Daniel does, right? Well, those who know me well know honesty may be my downfall, but sincerely, I am not and cannot pretend to be Daniel Sobel. And I don’t think any other experts in the industry can, either. In fact, now I’ve spent the day seeing what he’s famous for, I feel so passionately that the Corporate world is missing out on this incredible insight, I’m going to outline my top five reasons why you should listen, plan or lead with us.
The benefits of Daniel’s inclusion methodology will benefit you:
1. Strategically: School outcomes are YOUR talent pipeline.
For the last few years, at both equality and technology based summits I hear recurring themes; top employers are competing for a diverse, skilled talent pipeline. Your pipeline is currently at school, and Daniel is working with them. Around the world. And he’s teaching their leaders, their teachers and each pupil that inclusion is possible. Not only is inclusion possible, inclusive environments produce better attainment. So your talent pipeline knows how it feels to be accepted, at ease, productive and included.
You can translate those lessons from school to work.
2. Tactically: Schools manage Performance and Mental Health issues too.
Changes in school funding and their support services is having an impact on how school leaders manage to meet their objectives. Notably, all are ‘Doing more, with less’.
Sound familiar? If so, it should be no surprise that as the cloth is cut, the tell tale signs of human strain appear. Mental health in the teaching profession is at breaking point with absenteeism, recruitment and retention three significant drains on already limited resources. Daniel manages to improve wellbeing at every level of the organisation (as an education psychologist, this really is his forte), his schools boasting surplus applications when competitors struggle to get any.
So again, you can translate these lessons from school to your workplace too.
3. Logically: Equality and Diversity mean nothing without Inclusion
For some time now I’ve lamented at the same audiences citing the same barriers to reaching equality and diversity objectives without shouting from the rooftops: Schools are your pipeline. They are naturally diverse. So, to reflect the diverse society schools serve, speak to the person who is already actively delivering inclusion there. Go from zero to 100 by focusing on the end-goal; inclusion. Track improvements in equality and diversity as you go.
Translate inclusive outcomes from schools to your workplace.
4. Ethically: Social Inequality and the forgotten minority.
In his book ‘Narrowing the Attainment Gap’, I appreciated Daniel’s detailed performance analysis on familiar corporate diversity indicators; eg. gender, race, and special needs. However, there are two social inequality indicators missing from most corporate reports. They are Free School Meals (FSM) and Looked After Children (LAC). Additional Pupil premium grants (PPG) are given to schools in recognition that those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds are likely to have worse outcomes later in life. Funding is provided to those whose families a) apply for it b) are likely to have experienced financial hardship or trauma.
First, I’d like to highlight Daniel’s conclusion that classification of individuals potential and performance by narrowly defined labels is contradictory to providing an inclusive environment with optimal outcomes.
Secondly, I wonder whether the corporate indicators (the ‘hard’ data) unleash the opportunity Daniel uncovers in looking past them to further understand the bigger picture (the ‘soft’ data).
If everyone has the capability, but not everyone has the opportunity Daniel can help make a difference to individuals who may need your focus more: translate this lesson to the workplace.
5. Financially: Save time, money and stress.
I appreciate my vision may contradict a concerning political trend of division. I understand that both schools and corporations need to WORK. Bluntly, one makes your talent pipeline, the other is here to make profit.
So when Daniel can deliver an inclusive environment in an industry starved at cash and STILL save his clients time, money AND stress, surely you want to transfer this lesson to the workplace?
If these five lessons don’t have you chomping on the bit to get back to inclusion school and learn, please let me know. It could be that our PGDip and Masters accreditation for our inclusive leadership programmes tips the balance? Or maybe it’s our keynotes, workshops and consultations, that seals the deal?
Together, Daniel and I have the skills, knowledge and experience to support your staff today as we manage your talent pipeline of tomorrow. Let’s start the conversation and commit to change.
After all, every day’s a school day.