Anti-racist Schools Strategy

Date of Meeting:

9th November 2020

Report of:

Deb Austin

Contact Officer:


Sam Beal


01273 293533



Ward(s) affected:






1.1         The purpose of the report is to update Committee of progress since Committee passed a motion on the 18th June, 2020 calling for more anti-racist action in schools.


2.         RECOMMENDATIONS:    


2.1      That Committee support the development of a strategy for anti-racist schools, which will be developed over the next three months, supported by engagement with educational settings and community partnerships


2.2       That Committee agree the principles of the draft strategy outlined in Appendix 1.





3.1         There has been a range of support and challenge for race equality work in Brighton & Hove schools from the local authority. However, this has not centred people of colour in the devising and delivery of strategy and has not been sufficiently well-resourced to make a significant difference to improve the experience of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff, pupils, students and their families.


3.2         Many Brighton & Hove schools have been committed to improving their approaches to race equality and there has been some progress made. However, racism remains a reality locally and nationally. Here are two national reports highlighting some of the key issues:


3.3         In June and July 2020, a group of school staff founded the Brighton & Hove Educators of Colour Collective (BHECC). The purpose of the collective is to support and empower educators of colour and to support anti-racist action in schools. A smaller group of people from this collective have worked with a consultant commissioned by the council, to draft a strategy with racial literacy training at its centre and which prioritises the needs of pupils, students and staff of colour. Education and Skills thank this group for their expertise and experience which has informed the development of this strategy. It has been agreed that support in the future will either be funded or with permission from Head teachers staff released from duties during the school day.


3.4         The strategy will aim to both prevent and mitigate the racism within the educational system and to support more effectively those in school communities experiencing racism. A key principle within this strategy will be to recruit, resource and fund educators and experts of colour to lead and deliver work in partnership with the council. The strategy includes activity in the following areas: support for educators of colour, workforce development and training for school staff and governors, curriculum review and decolonisation, developing pupil and student racial literacy, school policy review, incident reporting and support for BAME pupils and students and their parents.


3.5         Training and engagement activities related to the strategy have been delivered or are planned in order to involve education settings and community and other partners in this work. In the autumn term this includes working with Equality Leads, Educators of Colour and governors with engagement work planned with community groups in the Spring term.


3.6         Further aspects of the strategy are also being delivered. For example; PSHE materials are being developed to support secondary students to understand the structural nature of racism, and racial literacy training is planned for equality leads and educators of colour in schools.


3.7         Education and Skills have committed to ensuring all their teams have received racial literacy training either through the council training offer or commissioned training by April 2021. This will ensure that all support offered to schools comes from a place of understanding systemic racism and so all can play a part in challenging it.


3.8         A strategy, action plan and delivery model will be in place by April 2021. The current proposal aims to recruit to new roles which will enhance the capacity of the council to deliver on this programme of work. This work requires significant funding to make a real difference to the systemic racism impacting on and causing harm to pupils, students and staff of colour in Brighton & Hove schools.  Funding proposals going forward are being developed and will presented to budget Council in February 2021 for approval.








5.1         A strategy will be ready to share in November.  Seed funding of £4000 has already been agreed so that engagement activities can take place with education settings, parents, carers young people, community groups between November and January. The purpose of the engagement will be to raise awareness and support for the strategy and to identify any gaps in provision.


6.         CONCLUSION


6.1         The recommendations should be approved to enable the next steps in developing schools that are safe learning environments for pupils, students, families and staff of colour, free from racism and prejudice.




Financial Implications:


7.1         As part of the development of the new strategy a full business case will be required to explore the alternative service delivery models and determine both the resources required and the funding options that may be available. This should be completed as soon as possible and submitted for consideration. Whatever final service delivery model is identified, resources will need to be either redeployed, savings found from other services or additional sources of funding found. Any significant funding implications will need to be agreed as part of the 2021/22 budget setting process.


            Finance Officer Consulted:     David Ellis                                     Date: 22/10/2020


Legal Implications:


7.2       The Equality Act 2010 protects employees and services users (school pupils) on the basis of 'protected characteristics' which includes race. Local Authorities have a responsibility to ensure that they comply with the three 'needs' articulated in this law through the Public Sector Equality Duty (section 149):

(i)  Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Act

(ii) Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it

(iii) Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it


Local Authorities will require schools to act in accordance with these three 'needs'. The development of an anti-racist strategy for schools will assist the Council to fulfil this statutory duty


            Legal Officer Consulted: Serena Kynaston                                 Date: 21/10/2020


            Equalities Implications:


7.2         The strategy is based on the identified needs of Black, Asian and Minority ethnic children, young people and staff and takes an intersectional approaching acknowledging the specific needs of different groups of children and young people within this umbrella.


            Sustainability Implications:




Brexit Implications:




Any Other Significant Implications:




            Crime & Disorder Implications:




            Risk and Opportunity Management Implications:




            Public Health Implications:


7.7       The strategy will contribute to the wellbeing of all groups of pupils and students in school.


            Corporate / Citywide Implications:


7.8       The strategy supports the Council’s pledge to be an anti-racist city.








1.      Brighton & Hove Anti-Racist Schools Strategy    
(DRAFT for engagement)


Whilst it must be recognised that racism is a complex issue that is an entrenched problem in British society at large and in our school systems, and there are no simple solutions to ‘eradicate’ racism, the aim of this document is to lay out a strategic plan for anti-racism practices to be embedded in the Brighton & Hove school system over a 5 year timeframe. This work will build on some important and good race equality work that has been developed in Brighton & Hove schools but recognises the need to increase and deepen this work.


This draft strategy takes an evidence-based approach and will inform a business case for funding. Over the next two terms there will be a series of engagement events with school communities and other partners to get feedback on the strategy, to inform its development and to gain support for its implementation.

Guiding Principles


·         A holistic approach that examines multiple overlapping areas of practice is required.

·         Racism is understood to be a structural/systemic/institutional issue as well as an interpersonal issue.

·         School education/communities are vital for socialising and equipping all young people to part of an inclusive, equitable and diverse society.

·         BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) is a deep, broad, diverse categorisation and the experiences and needs of different groups must be considered and represented.

·         An intersectional approach needs to be taken that recognises how, for example intersections with gender, SEND, economic disadvantage, refugee/asylum status, EAL and LGBTU can impact the needs of BAME people. 

·         BAME professionals must be involved at every level of decision making and delivery in anti-racist work.

·         BAME school staff /pupils/ community members must be engaged with and included in anti-racist work.

·         There must be a balance between dismantling and navigation work i.e. The resource/focus on dismantling racist practices, and the resource on supporting BAME pupils/staff/parents with navigating racist practices.

·         There should be an emphasis on sustainable change as opposed to one-off projects.

·         Emergent best practice for Anti-Racist leadership indicates BAME and White allies working in partnership (CIPD, 2020).

·         A series of measurable outcomes and appropriate structures must be established for auditing and monitoring purposes (BAME staff representation, curricula changes, well-being indicators, structural changes, attainment, attendance, exclusions).


The diagram below shows the main areas of anti-racist work as applicable to school and educational settings. Each area is further detailed below.






Key areas of work

BAME Staff Recruitment and Retention

The teaching workforce/SLTs/governors are overwhelmingly white and there is a growing disparity between the ethnic/racial diversity of the pupil population and teachers, SLT and governors. This disparity is evident in Brighton & Hove at all levels of the education system and in trainee teacher numbers. BAME teachers leave the profession at nearly twice the rate of their white colleagues and cite discrimination in the workplace from pupils/parents/colleagues / SLT, lack of career progression, isolation and a lack of support as contributing factors (Haque, 2017).


Lack of diversity in the teaching workforce sends powerful messages to all young people about who holds authority, knowledge and leadership. BAME pupils repeatedly cite that lack of BAME adults in schools contributes to a culture that misunderstands them (Wah, 2020).


·         Establish a city wide BAME teacher/staff network to provide peer-to-peer support, guidance, mentorship, information and training events

·         Improve recruitment, retention and progression in the Brighton & Hove school workforce and governors at all levels

·         Support schools in other initiatives to increase the BAME adult presence in schools e.g. visiting teachers/facilitators/ community elders, mentoring schemes, remote video teaching

·         BAME labour for anti-racist work must be compensated (financial / time) and valued

Training for Staff

By their own admission, many teachers (White and BAME) are ill prepared to promote anti-racism through schooling and the curriculum (Joseph-Salisbury, 2020). The over-whelming white school leadership in schools typically lack understanding of personal and structural racism and what is required to build inclusive school environments (Miller, 2020).


Racial literacy training is required for all staff. Key aspects of racial literacy include a historical understanding of the construction of ‘race’, an understanding of structural/systemic racism and an understanding of contemporary manifestations and reproductions of ‘race’ both in and out of schools. This is in contrast to ‘colour blind’ approaches that have dominated race equality strategies in recent decades (Gillborn, 2008).

·         Develop a programme of racial literacy training and an approach for rolling this across all staff. A balance of ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ approaches are needed.

·         Roll out a programme of general and specific training courses for teachers, school staff, SLT and governors across early years, primary, secondary and special schools.

·         Roll out a programme of training with key partners for ITT, NQT, RQTs.

·         Specialist training should be provided for specific curriculum areas /key stages, welfare/behaviour staff, incident reporting/handling / safeguarding etc.


Racial Literacy for Pupils

There is ample evidence spanning decades that children as young as 3 years old begin to learn the markers of racial categories and racial hierarchy (Apfelbaum, Sullivan, and Wilton, 2020; Brown, 2005) and yet the widespread view that children, particularly young children, are racially ‘innocent’ persists. In addition, children learn throughout their schooling that racism is an uncomfortable topic for adults and consequently have few opportunities to develop their own understanding and capacity to discuss this complex topic.


Some aspects of pupil racial literacy can be addressed through curricula changes. However, particularly at key stages 2/3/4 pupils additionally need specific racial literacy focussed lessons as part of their PSHE and critical thinking programmes.


·         Review and develop PSHE and critical thinking programmes.

·         Provide teacher training for delivery of PSHE and critical thinking programmes.


Incident Reporting / Handling

BAME pupils and parents (and teachers) indicate that racist incidents and concerns often go unreported. Reasons cited for this include:


o   Previous poor experiences (encountering defensiveness, made things worse, denial)

o   A sense that “the school doesn’t want to know”

o   A lack of confidence / language to report issues/concerns

o   Uncertainty of whom to report to

o   Fear of backlash / retaliation

o   Challenges the self-image of school

Studies show that many teachers understand racism as individual prejudice thereby only recognise racism in schools when it appears in the use of racial slurs or other overt incidents as opposed to a recognition of systemic inequalities and bias (Lander, 2014; Asare, 2009). This limited understanding contributes to the way issues/concerns are understood and handled.


·         Review of approach and guidance policies.

·         School staff training on approaches.


BAME pupil / parent support and empowerment

It is important that BAME pupils and parents are supported with the realities of navigating racialised experiences, as well as being empowered to be active in resisting and challenging problematic practices. As outlined in the previous section, pupils and parents report facing a range of barriers in reporting incidents and issues.


·         Focus groups and other methods to gather information on the lived experiences of BAME pupils, BAME parents, parents of BAME pupils.

·         Identified trained staff allies in all schools for reporting and supporting (similar to LGBT allies system in some schools).

·         Pupil (and parent) support groups / training.

·         BAME Mentoring (e.g. Brighton University, internal mentoring schemes).

·         Work with the Universities re. role models & aspirations.


School Curricula

The broad aims of diversifying and decolonising the curriculum is to

o   teach a more inclusive, accurate and balanced world view, (move away from a Eurocentric approach)

o   Embed Black History in the curricula

o   teach a critical thinking approach to History in particular

o   ensure that BAME pupils feel included and reflected in the curriculum, resources and environment

o   challenge and deconstruct racial stereotypes (Moncrieffe et al,2019).

o   Review all language used in the curriculum / school environment


This is a substantial and complex undertaking with different concerns, requirements and constraints for different subject areas and key stages. Constraints of exam syllabuses, for example, can severely limit the scope of schools to address the curriculum at key stages 4 and 5, but this does not mean that there is not scope for diversifying the curriculum in all key stages.  Some examples include: ensuring the history curriculum adequately addresses colonial, pre-colonial and post-colonial history, early years and primary story books reflect a diverse range of characters and perspectives, scientific and mathematical knowledge from across the globe are recognised and teaching methods address the needs of all pupils.


There are a plethora of resources and guidance related to diversifying and decolonising the curriculum, and therefore potential value in coordinating efforts across schools.


·         Establish a program of curriculum review and development over 5 years.

·         Provide subject specific/ key stage specific training and guidance.

·         Provide structures to share practice across schools e.g. recruit practising teachers. to specialise in subject / key stage.


School Policies

Certain school policies e.g. uniform, hair, holiday, food provision, can have a disproportionate negative impact on BAME pupils/parents.


·         Review / consultation / guidance

 An Example of Anti-Racist Practice in a school setting


Anti-Racism Lead Practitioner(s)

Appoint suitably qualified BAME and White joint leadership. In settings where two appointments are not feasible, organisations/schools can work in partnership with another small organisation/school.

Facilitated Focus Groups

Conduct facilitated focus groups for BAME pupils / parents / staff to effectively capture lived experiences and well-being information in the organisation.


Audit and Action Plan

Develop an audit and action plan approach so that schools can track their progress. The following documents might be useful.


·         NEU Anti-Racist Framework

·         The Key for School Leaders Whole school anti-racism audit

·         Runnymede Trust School Policies for Race Equality and Cultural Diversity

Audit data should include:


·         Overall and breakdown data on BAME teachers, SLT, staff and governors

·         Attendance data

·         Overall and subject specific attainment data

·         Behaviour and exclusion data

·         Racial literacy training data for staff and governors

·         Reported incident and issues data / information

·         BAME pupil / parent / staff experiences and well-being indicators

Draft Project Plan.

This will be developed when funding has been secured and in discussion with schools.


Year 1

Autumn Term 2020 and Spring Term 2021 (4k of funding provided)

Establish BAME teacher/school staff network (Brighton & Hove Educators of Colour Collective already established independently of the council)

Bulletin and emails to schools outlining plans for the strategy and advice / resources for Black History Month (completed September 2020)

Deliver report to Children Young People and Skills Committee and secure funding (November 2020)

Work with Brighton & Hove Educators of Colour Collective to establish an advisory group for the strategy and future developments (October and November 2020)

Racial Literacy Training and Engagement sessions: Educators of Colour, Equality Leads and Governors (phase 1) (November – March 2021)

Presentation and discussion of strategy at primary, secondary and special head teacher meetings (November and December 2020)

Engagement activities with community and parent groups (January – March 2021)

Completion of Anti-Racist Schools Strategy (March 2021)

Review national and local audit tools for schools (January – March 2021)

Development of racial literacy PSHE lesson plans for secondary schools (underway) and PSHE teacher training (By March 2021)

Review of PSHE lesson plans for primary schools (Good to be Me, Anti-Racism) (By March 2021)

Year 1 Summer Term 2021

Initial Racial Literacy Training for

Head teachers, governors, key staff (curriculum leads, policy leads)

Training for curriculum leads X as part of ongoing programme

Training for BAME pupils support groups secondary.

Training for BAME pupil / parent support primary.

Curriculum review for X subject secondary



Curriculum review for X subject primary

Year 2

Term 1

Training for curriculum leads Y

Support to establish BAME pupil support groups.

Training for BAME pupil / parent support primary.

Curriculum review for Y subject secondary

Curriculum review for Y subject primary

Year 2

Term 2 – Year 5

To be developed


Potential barriers to implementation

·         Resource and capacity within the council and schools is required to make a significant impact

·         With the many competing pressures in schools, and the discomfort for many with issues of race and racism, anti-racist work can be marginalised/ sabotaged.

·         It is important to recognise that some staff/teachers/governors will be reluctant to acknowledge and participate in anti-racist work. This can lead to conflict and backlash that thwarts efforts for progress. It is advised that the program aims to initially engage with staff/teachers/governors that support the work and any mandatory engagement comes further down the line.

·         Similarly, not all parents (including some BAME parents) will support the anti-racist work and schools must think carefully around how they communicate their approaches sensitively. Potentially schools may need to offer racial literacy programmes for parents.


Lead Author: Abha Aggarwal (RISC / Race Matters Education) commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council.

With thanks to the members of the Brighton & Hove Educators of Colour Collective who contributed to discussions which helped inform and develop this document.


Apfelbaum, E.P., Sullivan, J. and Wilton, L (2020) Adults Delay Conversations About Race Because They Underestimate Children’s Processing of Race

Asare, Y. (2009) ‘Them and us’: race equality interventions in predominantly white schools. London: Runnymede Trust.

Brown, B (2005) Unlearning discrimination in the early years, Trenthan Books.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2020) Developing and Anti-Racism Strategy

General Teaching Council for Scotland (2000) Educating for Anti-Racism

Gillborn, D (2008) Racism and Education – Coincidence or Conspiracy? Routledge

Haque, Z (2017) ‘Visible Minorities, Invisible Teachers’, The Runnymede Trust

Joseph-Salisbury, R (2020) ‘Race and Racism in English Secondary Schools’ The Runnymede Trust

Lander, V. (2014) Initial Teacher Education: The Practice of Whiteness.

Advancing Race and Ethnicity in Education: Palgrave MacMillan

Miller, P (2020) Anti-racist school leadership: making ‘race’ count in leadership preparation and development

Moncrieffe M, Asare, Y, Dunford, R and Youssef, H (2019) Decolonising the Curriculum, University of Brighton

Page, S. (2020) '‘People get killed cause of their skin. It cannot be stopped’: a midlands case study considering experiences of racism amongst pupils in UK secondary schools and the community. British journal of community justice

Wah, I (2020) This is why diversity in schools matters so much’