Schools: Racial Discrimination

Department for Education written question – answered on 27th June 2022.

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Photo of Munira Wilson Munira Wilson Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance the Government has issued on racial justice work and workshops in schools.

Photo of Munira Wilson Munira Wilson Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding the Government has allocated to support racial justice work and workshops in schools.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

The government condemns and strives to tackle all forms of racial discrimination, prejudice, and harassment. Under the Equality Act 2010, schools have a duty to take steps to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation, to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations across all protected characteristics, including between people of different ethnic backgrounds.

The department has not provided specific guidance or funding to schools to deliver racial justice work and workshops. Schools have flexibility over how they deliver subjects, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils. The department has published advice to support schools to fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010, which is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/315587/Equality_Act_Advice_Final.pdf.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies. This includes learning how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain. The curriculum offers many opportunities for schools to do this, notably through citizenship education and relationships education, which is now compulsory in all schools and has a clear focus on the importance of valuing difference. The history curriculum also gives teachers the flexibility to include the contribution of black and minority ethnic history into lessons. This aligns with the school’s duty to promote and foster good relations across all protected characteristics, including race.

Guidance on the implementation and teaching of the relationships, sex and health education curriculum is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health. The national curriculum content for citizenship can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-citizenship-programmes-of-study.

The department continues to publish information, guidance and support for teachers and school leaders on how to challenge radical views, including racist and discriminatory beliefs, on the website Educate Against Hate, which is available at: https://educateagainsthate.com/. One of these resources is the ‘Respectful School Communities’ toolkit, a self-review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline. This can combat bullying, harassment and prejudice of any kind, including hate-based bullying. This toolkit is available here: https://educateagainsthate.com/resources/respectful-school-communities-self-review-signposting-tool-2/.

It is important that schools take full responsibility for ensuring lessons and materials are age appropriate, suitable, and politically impartial, particularly when using materials produced by external organisations. The department published the guidance, ‘Political impartiality in schools’, to support schools to meet their duties in this area, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/political-impartiality-in-schools.

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