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Saluting our sisters
Celebrating Black History Month

As we celebrate Black History Month we are shining a light on three women who have all made a difference to the lives of young people and education. 

Yvonne Conolly 

At the age of 29, Yvonne Conolly became Britain’s first female black headteacher. Her career in the UK started with her working as a supply teacher after sailing over from Jamaica in 1963. This then led to permanent work and eventually her post as Headteacher at Ringcross Infant School for seven years. She went on to forge a 40 year career in education helping to set up the Caribbean Teaching Association, then later worked as an inspector for Ofsted. She faced abuse and racism during her career, but refused to let it hold her back. She never saw herself as a pioneer, but she certainly was one and carved an aspirational path for others to follow. 

Lavinya Stennett 

The Black Curriculum is an organisation created by Lavinya Stennett whose mission is to include Black History to the UK’s education system so that all students get taught it at school. It has already carved a name for itself by providing workshops and resources to schools and teachers to teach young people about Black History, but they won’t stop until they go the next step further and it’s included in the curriculum. Lavinya’s organisation is still young, having been established in 2019, however, it has achieved so much already and does not plan to slow down. Her actions and incredible drive to achieve will certainly see that more people are taught about Black History to change the lives of young people for the better.  

Malorie Blackman 

Being the author of over 60 children’s books is just one of Malorie Blackman's claim to fame. She is also the first black children’s laureate and is famously known for her highly acclaimed book Noughts & Crosses, which has also been turned into a hit BBC TV series. Malorie’s inspiration for writing came from not having any books or stories that she could relate to when she was growing up. She wanted to address that by writing those books herself. Her writing and storylines are well loved because of the way she often presents reverse realities of black and white people, providing a different lens in which to view situations and address issues around racism and ethnicity. Malorie’s stories are the books she never had growing up, and they will no doubt be enjoyed and valued for so many for years to come. 

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