01 October 2023

Education union calls for mandatory anti-racism training for school staff

01 October 2023

Anti-racism training for school staff should be mandatory, an education leaders’ union has said.

The NAHT, which made its call at the beginning of black history month, said there needs to be a “centralised, anti-racist approach to education” which is underpinned by staff training.

The union said that being anti-racist goes further than simply being aware of racism, and involves training people to spot it and call it out.

We know that racism and racial inequality continues to exist within the education sector, as it does across society

Paul Whiteman, the union’s general secretary, said: “Education can play a pivotal role in tackling discrimination, improving awareness and challenging prejudice.

“But we know that racism and racial inequality continues to exist within the education sector, as it does across society. We are committed as an organisation to helping our members actively address this.

“It matters for the health, well-being and futures of school leaders, their staff, and the pupils and communities that they serve.

“That’s why NAHT is calling for a centralised, anti-racist approach to education, underpinned by regular, mandatory anti-racism training for all staff.

“This needs to go further than simply being aware of racism – anti-racism requires action to change and create policies, practices and procedures to promote racial equity. We need everyone who works in schools to be empowered to do this, in order to bring about true change.

“We see this as a necessary part of the Keeping Children Safe In Education (KCSIE) training, to ensure that all children are protected by this requirement.”

The current approach is that headteachers and governing bodies are seen as responsible for making decisions about how best to educate staff on their school’s responsibilities for safeguarding and child protection.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Racism has absolutely no place in our schools and the Equality Act is clear that discrimination against pupils on the basis of their race is unlawful. Statutory teacher standards are also clear that teachers should be attentive to the needs of all pupils.

“Schools should have measures in place to prevent all forms of bullying, including racism and discrimination. In the event that an incident occurs, swift and decisive action should be taken to resolve it.”

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