We used our presence at this year’s Teaching Union conferences to conduct a survey into the attitudes of teachers and head teachers towards racism and Islamophobia, and their knowledge of the Show Racism the Red Card campaign.
Overall we surveyed 227 people at the conferences of National Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), National Association Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) and National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). A brief analysis of some of the findings is outlined below:
“My pupils see footballers as role models”
The overwhelming response to this was yes (91%). This is obviously very positive for our organisation which aims to utilise the role model status of professional footballers to combat racism in society.
“I have heard of Show Racism the Red Card”.
Again the overwhelming response was yes (79%). This demonstrates that our campaign is extremely well known given the small size of our organisation.
“I have worked with Show Racism the Red Card’s resources before”.
We only asked this question at two conferences and out of 95 teachers only 14% had worked with our resources. Of these teachers the large majority 68% thought that “Anti-racism needs to be prioritised in my school”. These findings confirm that we have only reached a small fraction of our ‘target audience’ and that the majority of teachers see the work we do as a priority for themselves.
“I would welcome the chance to attend a teacher training session with SRTRC”.
56% said yes to this question. We are currently looking at organising some teacher training events and this is very useful information to know.
“Have you ever received any training in teaching anti-racism?”
This question was asked of 131 teachers and only 18% had received any anti-racism training. 104 had not received any training on the issue. Out of 71 head teachers asked 73 % had not received any anti-racist training. Yet in this same survey of head teachers 76 % said their schools delivered anti-racist education.
“I would feel confident educating against Islamophobia.”
Only 39% responded positively to this question, 33% were not sure and 27% replied no. This statistic backs up our own findings from our daily work in schools, which are that the majority of teachers do not feel confident in tackling the issue of Islamophobia. Given the widespread prejudice on this issue and the lack of teacher training this is hardly surprising.
The vast majority of teachers and head teachers appear to understand the importance of anti-racist education and indeed to the question “Do you teach anti-racism in your school” 76% of head teachers and 60% of teachers replied yes. However, the worrying aspect is very few teachers themselves have received anti-racist education. How can teachers be expected to deliver effective anti-racist education when the majority have never had any training themselves? Our findings demonstrate that there is a real need to increase training among teachers on anti-racism.
With regards to Islamophobia the survey confirmed our own experience that teachers are much less confident in challenging Islamophobia, than they are challenging racism in general.
- Show Racism the Red Card is looking to hold a number of teacher training events and a conference in the North East of England. These will inform further ideas on how best to improve teachers’ confidence on addressing these issues.
- We aim to work with the teachers unions in order to develop a national strategy on how to tackle Islamophobia and improve teacher training on anti-racism.
- We are in discussion with the Runnymede Trust as to how we can augment these survey findings with more comprehensive research.