Miller, Paul and Callender, Christine (2018) Black Leaders Matter: Agency, Progression and the Sustainability of BME School Leadership in England. Journal for Multicultural Education. ISSN 2053-535X

This article examines the career progression of four Black male headteachers in England. In analysing the narratives of school leaders it sheds light on the agentic and contextual factors which have limited or facilitated a successful transition to school leadership and which sustain success. The headteachers’ professional lives are explored through the lenses of Critical Race Theory and interpretivism. In doing so, it illuminates the journey towards and the realities of a group whose views are currently unrepresented in research on school leadership or that of the experiences of male BME teachers in England.The findings revealed that participants experience both limiting and facilitating structures as they negotiated their roles into headship and as headteachers. Limiting structures are those which constrain or hinder progression into leadership whilst facilitating structures enabled participants to navigate and negotiate gendered racism, make progress in their careers and achieve success in their respective roles. Both limiting and facilitating structures include personal agency as well as contextual factors. Theoretically, this study adds to the small number of studies on race and school leadership in England. More research is needed on the limiting and facilitating structures identified in this study and on the potential generational differences that may exist between more established and newly appointed male BME school leaders. Studying generationally different school leaders may help to illuminate the salience of race and racism across an increasingly diverse population.

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