Show Racism the Red Card have been commissioned to investigate issues of racism and inequality in the education system
Show Racism the Red Card has launched new research which was commissioned to investigate issues of racism and inequality in the education system.
Ged Grebby Chief Executive of Show Racism the Red Card stated: “The research highlights that there is a huge gap in the current teacher training provision when it comes to preparing teachers to tackle racism and embed equality. Teachers need to be empowered with skills and knowledge in order to be better equipped to deal with these issues in schools. It is vital that policymakers take these issues on board to ensure that our young people grow up without the burden of racist attitudes and that our schools provide positive environments where all young people feel safe and able to achieve.”
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT added: “The NUT believes respect should be accorded in our multicultural society, regardless of 'race', religion, gender, sexuality, disability or special educational need. Many schools are excellent examples of how children and young people from all walks of life can work together in an environment that fosters pride and equality for everyone. The NUT is proud to work alongside Show Racism the Red Card in campaigning for equality for all of our children."
Racism is still a significant issue in England’s schools. 83% of questionnaire respondents had witnessed racist behaviour amongst their pupils and many felt there were strong racist attitudes amongst their pupil cohort.
Intentional and unintentional racist behaviour was also evidenced amongst some teachers, from the use of racist terminology and jokes to teachers having lower expectations of pupils from black, Asian or other minority ethnic groups.
There is a significant lack of training for teachers in this area. 39% of teachers who responded had never received training in tackling racism or promoting equality. Of those who had, most felt the training was cursory and that they felt ill-equipped to promote equality and tackle racism in the classroom.
Many teachers are unaware of how to recognise and deal with racist incidents when they arise, with many respondents saying that they would not like to step in if it was “unintentional”, “the first time it had happened” or there was no clear target or victim.
Training, which provides teachers with a thorough understanding of how to tackle racism and promote equality needs to be an integral part of initial teacher training. If training is not provided, then it is unreasonable to expect that teachers will be able to deal with these issues in the classroom.
Pupils need to be provided with safe spaces to express their views and openly discuss and reflect on issues of ethnicity and racism, so that they have an opportunity to learn about difference, dispel misinformation and create school environments where pupils value diversity and difference and every pupil feels safe and able to achieve.
Ultimately the government needs to adopt policy which is underpinned by social justice and does not allow negative, false media discourse to dominate public and media debate.
Follow this link to read the report in full.