A black man wearing a base ball cap smiling at the camera
Liverpool's race equality officer for education Paul Olubayo

BLOG: “Liverpool has a unique opportunity to do something powerful”

Earlier this year Liverpool recruited its first race equality officer for education. In this blog, Paul Olubayo explains more about his role and what it will bring to our city…

My role at the council is a new and unique one for the city. As Race Equalities Officer within the education department, I will be leading the council’s efforts to promote and enhance racial equality and diversity within the city’s education system. Working in collaboration with schools, community organisations and several relevant partners, the role will look to amplify the work being done across the city, whilst also providing strategic guidance to help improve racial equality across the education sector.

It goes without saying that education plays a pivotal role in addressing the issue of racism in society. If we truly wish to foster an equal and equitable society it begins by embedding an ethos of inclusion, acceptance and celebration of culture into the youngest in our community and ensuring that this is built upon throughout their education journey.

For years, if not decades, communities of colour have expressed their discontent and anger around the inequitable nature of the education system within the country. Two years on from the global resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement on an international scale, it is beyond time that we come together and take decisive action to improve equality within our education system.

I come to this role after spending years working within various human rights organisations in both the UK and the US. Whilst in the US I completed a master’s degree in Human Rights from the University of Minnesota, where at the same time George Floyd was tragically murdered within the city sparking a global movement for change which, in part, led to the creation of my role. Like many, I used this heart-breaking experience as a catalyst to combatting racism in society and I will look to bring my experiences from international advocacy into this role.

In my first 12 months, I will be looking to work with Senior Leaders within our schools to develop a Race Equality Charter. The charter will seek to outline our school’s commitment to create an inclusive environment, whilst also laying out the specific strides they will take to make long-lasting change in advancing racial equality within the city’s education system.

However, success in this job cannot be achieved by one person alone. Make a lasting change and difference on this issue will only be possible with the support and active collaboration of actors across the education sector and beyond. What’s been so encouraging over my first few months in post is the tangible energy from all corners of the city to work together for the betterment of all our school students and the city as a whole. Liverpool has a unique opportunity to do something powerful, revolutionary and quite frankly long overdue and I am delighted to be a part of working towards a more equitable and equal city.

Liverpool Waterfront