Carnegie Education

Schools eligible for award launched to promote anti-racism

Schools that wish to develop a culture of anti-racism will now be eligible for a new award launched by Leeds Beckett University. The initiative has been created by The Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality (CRED), part of the Carnegie School of Education at LBU, to raise the profile of racism and structural racial disadvantage in the education system.  

colourful pencil crayons in pots

It also aims to improve race equality within schools while promoting safety and wellbeing for BAME staff, students, parents, carers, and those in the community. Participating schools will be called on to evaluate the extent to which they are taking a whole-school approach to anti-racism, identifying any gaps in which to develop and strengthen.

After this, they will be paired with a trained CRED professional associate coach, who will help to ensure they meet a series of criteria before creating a personalised action plan using a development framework. Thirteen schools have so far signed up and will have the opportunity to work towards the award by accessing a research-informed and evidence-based development framework which is tailored to them. 

Professor Vini Lander, Director of the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality, said: 

“Schools are a microcosm of society. They can also be a site for addressing and halting race inequality.  In the absence of educational policy on race and racism over the last ten years, schools have lacked clear leadership at national level in terms of how to address racial inequality in education.  

“The journey to becoming an anti-racist school starts with courageous and committed leadership from the top. We would urge school leaders to start their journey today to transform tomorrow’s society and its citizens. Race equality in schools is really about a committed leadership to anti-racist action. In terms of the award we have it organised in specific sections. The award is designed to provoke thinking and action so if schools notice that BAME students are under-achieving or don’t feel confident in the school that racism will be tackled.”

The Anti-Racist Award takes a whole school approach to anti-racism and covers five key competencies: Governance, Leadership and Management; School Environment; Recruitment, retention, professional development of the school workforce; Pedagogy and curriculum; and Working with parents, carers and community partnerships. 

Lisa Fathers, Director of Teaching School & Partnerships at Bright Futures Educational Trust (BFET), said: 

“Embedding an anti-racist culture in school is every leader’s and every teacher’s responsibility. This is not about ‘tolerance’. Far from it, this is about cultivating environments that are genuinely trying their best to be anti-racist. For me this is isn’t an optional extra; it is about human rights. We all want our children to be happy, succeed and have equal access to all that is on offer in school and in life and unless we start getting more engaged with the notion of the racism inherent in society we won’t be able to create long lasting change. 

“At my trust we are looking forward to working closely with Leeds Beckett University’s CRED team to start to improve our work in this area too. As a teaching school we hope to influence many schools to re-look at this area too.”

The award costs £395 and lasts for three years, after which schools can apply for reassessment to maintain the same level or strive for higher quality standards. 

For more information, visit our Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality page.

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