Racial Discrimination: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what resources are available to (a) primary and (b) secondary schools to teach anti-racism.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. We also want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. Schools are required to actively promote fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faith and beliefs.

From September 2020, Relationships Education will become compulsory for primary-aged pupils and Relationships and Sex Education will become compulsory for secondary-aged pupils. Statutory guidance for these subjects requires all primary-aged pupils to be taught the importance of respecting others, even when they are different from them, or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs. Pupils will also be taught what a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive. This will be reinforced at secondary school when pupils will also learn about legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal.

Schools can also choose to teach a range of subjects related to racism at primary, following the non-statutory framework for Citizenship. Pupils can be taught to identify and respect the differences between people; the consequences of anti-social and aggressive behaviour, including racism, on individuals; and how to respond to them and ask for help. The National Curriculum for Citizenship at secondary phase enables pupils to develop their understanding of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the UK and the need for mutual respect and understanding. There is also flexibility within the history curriculum for teachers to teach about Black and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras, to support an understanding of the active role Black and minority ethnic people have played in history.

The Department does not specify how schools should teach curriculum subjects. Schools have the freedom to use their professional judgements and an understanding of their pupils to develop the right approach for their schools. This includes decisions about which resources they may choose to support their teaching. The Department is developing training materials to support schools’ implementation of Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education. This will include training modules, implementation guidance, support to access resources and case studies. Schools who require more support will be able to access training through existing regional teaching school networks.

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