Tackling racism and bias in schools

Councillors in Brighton & Hove have agreed to do more to help schools address racism and bias in the educational curriculum.

All training offered by the council to schools, teachers and trainee teachers will now include building understanding of the impact on pupils and staff of bias, discrimination, white privilege and institutional racism. 

The aim is to give teachers practical tools for teaching and communicating around racism, colonialism, global citizenship, interconnection, immigration and diversity.

The move reflects a joint Labour and Green motion agreed at the council’s children, young people and skills committee.

It was proposed by the committee’s opposition lead member Councillor Hannah Clare, and seconded by the deputy chair of the committee, Councillor Kate Knight.

Councillor Knight said: “We are committed to becoming an anti-racist council, and we strongly support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We want to offer more guidance to our city’s schools around educating in a way that not only acknowledges, but also is critical of, the racial prejudices and discrimination of the past.
“We want our staff to feel confident and have appropriate resources to confront and combat racism, as we all come to more fully appreciate the role that privilege and bias plays in our lives.
“We are absolutely committed to involving members of the city’s BAME communities in adapting our training and guidance.”

Councillor Clare said: “We need to do everything we can to combat racism and break the cycle of oppression that has built up over many generations.

The proposal called for monitoring and evaluation too, because we believe the council has a duty to improve the support we offer our schools in this area.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has reminded us that taking action is overdue. 

“Rather than a short-term approach, we know it’s important that work to dismantle racism is built into how we deliver services both now and into the future.”

The council is also writing to the government asking for:

  • further financial support for schools to enable them to undertake more rigorous training, learning and development
  • the introduction of mandatory training around the issues of race, prejudice and privilege
  • an urgent reform of the curriculum, to ensure BAME history is embedded in our education system