Open, honest and uncomfortable conversations about race

Key question: How might we engage in open, honest, and uncomfortable conversations about race to lead towards healing and thriving?

The Open, honest and uncomfortable conversations about race - reflections table document has been produced as a tool to support staff within schools and early years settings to have conversations about race in a way that is supportive, honest, and ultimately leads to a more positive relationship going forward whether that is between staff, or with pupils or parents. It is designed as a tool to aid reflection and encourage all parties to be able to have conversations about race and the impact of racism in a way that is supportive and allows all parties to move forward, positively together.

Purpose: This document can be used:

  • To strengthen the existing relationship between parties (whether one or more party has stated a need for change / improvement)
  • In circumstances whereby there has been a breakdown in a current and / or historical relationship between two or more parties
  • To support the genuine, open, honest, and often uncomfortable conversations required in regard to race to lead towards well-informed and well-considered effective actions for change of policy, practice and experiences.
  • As a tool towards developing and ensuring positive, sustained long-term change to occur leading to the improved and sustained (long-term) daily lived experiences, positive outcomes, and life chances for Black Caribbean people in Ealing and beyond
  • To begin to create a paradigm shift in the way in which we communicate with each other in Ealing about race, in a deeper and more meaningful way, to affect long-lasting positive change

Definition of healing: the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again

Definition of thriving: to progress toward or realise a goal despite, or because of, circumstances; to flourish

Rationale: The process of healing truly begins by ‘placing everything on the table’ (the factors/issues) to embrace truth to enable each party to:

  • ‘see’ and know all the factors and issues that exist or are at play
  • view all the factors/ issues from all different angles and perspectives;
  • view all the factors / issues through the different lens of each party;
  • explore the individual and collective motivations and intentions for change
  • explore the repositioning / moving the factors around ‘on the table’ to imagine and re-conceptualise (individually and collectively) a different / new realm of possibility
  • co-construct: a shared vision and the intended outcomes
  • agree actions for change of policy and practice towards that vision; and consider who else might need to be involved?
  • agree checking-in, monitoring and evaluation points to ensure remaining on track towards the shared vision and intended outcomes. Agree whether all parties able to be part of that process to enable a shared and holistic perspective?


  • Reasons
  • Shared Planning of our Conversations
  • Psychologically Contracting our Conversations
  • Communication Styles
  • Physical Environment
  • Having our conversation
  • Supportive Tools

Ethnicity terminology

Please note, that the term ‘Black Caribbean’, aligns with School Census ethnicity terminology. It is acknowledged that many Black people of Caribbean heritage may identify themselves as African / African-Caribbean / Black / Black British, as opposed to the term ‘Black Caribbean’.

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Last updated: 23 Jun 2022

Ealing Learning Partnership