Sheffield teacher becomes first BAME person to hold leading education role across Yorkshire

A Sheffield teacher has become the first BAME person to hold a leading education role in Yorkshire.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 6:00 am
Sarah Ahmed

Sarah Ahmed who formerly worked at King Ecgbert School in Dore, has now been appointed as the new Head of Division for Secondary Initial Teacher Education and Lifelong Learning at The University of Huddersfield, where she will also be studying for a PhD.

The 36-year-old has run voluntary workshops on on anti-racist education and also closed the 2020 conference of Sheffield Anti-Racist Education.

Sarah, who lives in Sheffield, told the Telegraph: “I realised I was the first BAME Head of Division in Teacher Education in Yorkshire and that was quite disappointing, but also I have always felt that you can’t be what you can’t see.

"Young people need to experience that BAME people can be in positions that require higher education, qualifications and that they can aspire to be something that they didn’t necessarily think they could be.”

In her new role, Sarah hopes to highlight the lack of BAME teachers in school leadership or headteacher roles, inspire graduates and young people to consider teaching as a positive role model, as well as encouraging schools to look at their staffing in terms of equality.

She said: “I was the only person of colour in my school as a head of department.

"There were no senior members of staff of colour. That’s just generally around teaching.

"There is something like only seven per cent of headteachers who are of colour.

"I think that is important (for schools to look at their staffing) because people of colour do doubt themselves – I did at one point.

“Sheffield is very multi-cultural but the teaching population doesn’t really represent that.”

Sarah began focusing on community cohesion after studying for a masters in teaching and learning at Oxford University.

She has also worked with both the city’s universities to recruit more BAME teachers into the profession.

"A lot of Asian kids think Oxford University is like Buckingham Palace and would say ‘wow miss, you went there?’”, added Sarah.

"And I would say to them ‘you can go there as well.”​​​​​​