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Assistant Principal & Educational Activist
Aisha is a born and bred Bristolian. She studied law at the University of the West of England before switching to education in 2010. In September 2016 Aisha became Assistant Principal at an inner city secondary school in Bristol. She is also an educational activist specialising in race.
In 2018 Aisha presented a BBC documentary about the lack of black teachers in Bristol and collaborated with city partners to launch the ‘Bristol One Curriculum’. This aims to create a more equitable representation of black history, achievement and culture in Bristol as well as Britain and globally.
2019 saw Aisha deliver her TEDxBristol talk, ‘Why representation really matters‘. In a world where many people do not see themselves recognised in all aspects of life, Aisha wanted to reignite the debate and challenged education and industry to look at their practice.
“Until society represents everyone, the question will always be, Where do I belong? This is why representation matters.” During a mentoring meeting a young offender said to Aisha Thomas, “If you were my teacher, maybe I wouldn’t be in prison today.” Then a law graduate, Aisha realised she had an important role to play in inspiring young minds. She decided to retrain as an educator and dedicate her life to improving the lives of children in her community. As the Assistant Principal at City Academy in Bristol she is one of only 26 out of 1346 black secondary school teachers in the city. She says: “The impact of this is far-reaching and is about more than the person standing at the front of the classroom. It affects the attainment of the students and the adults that young people become once they leave school.” Aisha challenges us to imagine a world where all races are represented in all aspects of life. Where children grow with a sense of value, connection and understanding of difference. This is why we can all play a role inspiring the next generation. #RepresentationMatters
In her talk, Aisha will seek to debate the way in which tech is developing. It is clear that not all communities are excelling and growing with the rapid change in tech. Representation is important in all aspects of life and tech is not exempt from this. The hope is that tech will open doors and remove the discrimination that exists in everyday aspects of life, but often the very racial hierarchy that tech attempts to eradicate, can be amplified by the same system that seeks to remove it.