Malcolm Richards – Founder & Community Educator
So, I was born and bred in Hackney and my first job was as a cleaner. It took me 20 years to actually get a degree. I’ve had a few careers, and have worked in education since 2009, first as a teaching assistant, becoming a teacher, and now a senior leader. I‘ve since worked in adult education, secondary schools and pupil referral units and colleges, in rural, urban and suburban contexts.
2009 – 2015
I founded The Road School in 2009, for socially disadvantaged young people, living in Hackney and Islington, who needed support to transition into formal education, employment, training or into adult life. The founding principles of The Road School were rooted in the African Caribbean supplementary school movement of my youth, with a strong emphasis on reflection and understanding, resources that developed a curriculum celebrating identity, culture and heritage, and representation of and dialogue with a global, intergenerational community.
Supported by a core team of dedicated volunteers, The Road School quickly gained a reputation for engaging young people, through a pedagogical approach that aimed to embed dialogic themes of social justice, equity and empowering futures for students.
Organisations we collaborated with included:
- London Borough of Islington
- Mouth That Roars
- London Metropolitan University – Upward Bound
- Beyond Knowledge
- Goldsmiths – University College London
- Camp Bestival
Our young people had consistently expressed a new found confidence in self reflection, with an demonstratable ability to promote their identity and culture using critical dialogue and the power of their lived experiences. They were able to use this, and apply the skills they learnt in their own education settings, offering an awareness of their personal, next steps to success. In every setting, organisations were able to produce statistical evidence (assessment data, conduct, behaviour, youth voice and others) to show that following our work, young people were reengaged with education, had increased attendance, developed core and creative arts and media skills.
2015 – present
In 2015, The Road School moved to the South West of England.
In a different educational, socio-economic and context, we expanded our focus and practice in innovative and engaging ways, while recognising our founding principles. A new community of educators have been keen to study and learn our approaches, applying them into their practice and developing them into flexible approaches which are applied in formal and informal education spaces.
We are developing into an organisation that has the kind of positive impact on the critical consciousness of all young people, educators and communties that can help develop communities that are truly inclusive, equitable and just.
We continue to teach, exploring culture, language and heritage from across the African diaspora through a number of different programmes. This includes The Culture Yard – a creative, innovate and inspiring supplementary education programme for KS2 and KS3 students living in the rural South West of England (Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and Dorset)
We are developing teacher toolkits, workshops, teacher training and mentoring programmes and online curriculums to support young people AND educators who are keen to explore dialogic opportunities for reflection, resources or representation about race, cultural heritage and teaching thinking education.
We are becoming a teaching thinking organisation with links to schools, universities, trade unions and education community organisations locally, nationally and internationally, including the National Education Union, Stand Up To Racism and many others.
If you would like to find out more information about what we do, please contact The Road School on firstname.lastname@example.org