Tackling Racism


Anti-racism strategies

A range of existing strategies used in some schools in Sandwell, and additional suggestions made by educational practitioners.



Existing strategies in schools


We spoke to groups of teachers from 3 different secondary schools in Sandwell, to find out what anti-racism strategies they and their schools already used, and to allow them to discuss ideas for new strategies. 



Below are some ideas and quotes from the teachers we spoke to.





Discussing racism with students in different subjects:

“ [In the] English syllabus, year 10 and 11, there’s poetry from other cultures and that does address some of the issues and brings out some of the feelings of people from different countries, and people changing our countries and cultures. And that has been a good starting point for discussion.”

“[We] certainly do it in Science, we’ve done it in some Biology topics, talking about the reasons for differences, and that goes a long way into dispelling certain misconceptions.”

“From the moment they come into the school racism is dealt with in PSHE, which is Personal Sexual Health Education, it is addressed in that. I know with a lot of the work we’re doing at the moment, with SEAL and things, that that’s being done more and more and more.”

“… when we’ve ran anti-bullying programmes, which we’ve done with our peer tutors and that; racism has always been part of that programme and discussion there.”

“…we do a whole topic in year 9 on religion and equality. We look at Martin Luther King, we look at Ghandi… They do it in drama as well, the slave trade, and in history, so they are taught [about equality].”




Regular anti-racism assemblies:

“Assemblies are typically done twice, if not three times a week, for each year group. For each week throughout the year there are particular themes that are covered, within that is racism, or anti-racism would be one of the themes that is covered… it is referred to at regular times over the year.”



Taking a multi-agency approach/working with outside charities and schemes:

“The biggest thing that I can say from that point of view is the amount of support we get for our students from outside agencies. So, on the race side of things, we’ve worked with Rewind, Afro-Caribbean Society, but also from a wider point of view, the caring and health school nurses, the counselling services that we offer; all of those things we provide from a multi-agency approach, I haven’t seen that in other schools that I’ve been involved with. It wouldn’t be so prevalent at primary schools, but they don’t offer the same kind of facilities that an agency, working with us, do. The agency is there to benefit the staff – we can’t be complete experts in counselling and things like that – but if we can get someone in who has a better understanding, the knowledge, and is an expert in that field, we would hopefully see better results at the end of it. That’s my thought of what we do better, and what we see different here.”


“I think it’s also about having the support networks there available, and students knowing who they can go to, as J said, in her student’s encounter they knew to go straight to their form tutor, and that contact was there. But also head of year, form tutors, and I think all the staff know that we can link in with other support agencies, so if somebody is being affected by racist incidents, whether it’s at school or outside school, we know that we can offer support through a variety of agencies; be it counselling, be anti-racism, anti-bulling agencies; we can offer that support and refer students to that specialist service. We can offer that expertise [from them] that we wouldn’t have.”


“We’re actually doing that with my football team at the moment, and the Respect campaign about racism in schools. And er, we’ve had to, you know sit the girls down and educate them about what it’s about, what they’re saying, what’s wrong, what they’re doing, what they’re body language towards someone is saying.”


Some of the different charities and agencies that provide resources and promote equality include:


Click on the images and/or links below to find out how these resources could help teachers promote equality during lesson time and facilitate a whole-school approach to anti-racism.



- The SHARP sytem (www.thesharpsystem.com)


- Show Racism the Red Card (www.srtrc.org.uk)


- Rewind (www.rewind.org.uk)


- Actorshop (www.actorshop.biz) - Theatre workshops to educate students on a number of different topics


- SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) (http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/inclusion/behaviourattendanceandseal/seal)




Appointing staff 'mentors' to discuss anti-racism with perpetrators:

“We’ve used key people and school mentors and people to work with youngsters, or to sit with them, to talk to them.”


Logging and monitoring racist behaviours from pupils, followed up with standard protocols of action:

“…all those incidents; bullying incidents, racism incidents, are all locked in the Deputy Head’s central folder, which can then be referred to if a student would have two or three bullying incidents, racism incidents that would result in major action… There’s a racist log and there’s a bullying log. There may be situations, and there have been, where you would log it in both, but they are most definitely separate logs.”




Teacher suggestions and recommendations

Informing children about what racism is, and promote anti-racism, consistently through the curriculum:

“Giving them the information they need so they can make wiser choices… Informing them, like we do about road safety, like we do about everything else it could be; rather than just be a big focus, if it was an aspect of something else it would mean that the minority children wouldn’t feel, ‘Oh God not this again.’ If it was put in a context of addressing race but also disability or- you know a variety of different aspects of being prejudiced - then I think that would address lots of issues and … give the kids the information that they need to then make the wiser choices.”



Increasing young peoples’ understanding of what racism is:

“It’s through lack of knowledge the majority of the time that these incidences happen. And then you get the look of shock on their face, and you’re educating them, informing them that actually ‘this is how it is, and this is actually what it means’ – you know we need to be aware of this. Put this information in and the incidences will go down.”

“It’s education. Erm, making sure they understand the implications and the consequences of what they might be saying, how it might be hurting people, and like you say, it comes in all different shapes and forms.”








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