Anti-racism resources to help ‘decolonise’ school curriculum

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New learning materials for teachers in Scotland aim to embed anti-racism in all aspects of school life.

Education Scotland has produced a number of different resources which encourage an anti-racist ethos throughout the education system.

The guidance says that pupils should “routinely see language, content and imagery that reflects the diversity of culture, identities, and experiences, including their own”.

It says “normalising” diversity is a more powerful approach than one-off lessons which celebrate difference, as these can have unintended consequences of “othering” those from minority groups.

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It also promotes “decolonising” the curriculum in order to challenge longstanding biases and omissions.

The guidance says: “(Decolonising) reflects the concern that literature, cultures, successes and histories of groups impacted by racism are not sufficiently evident in the curriculum, and that the historical role of Scotland in the colonies and in the slave trade has not been consistently explored and acknowledged within the curriculum.”

Research over the past two decades has found that racism is part of everyday life for ethnic minority pupils, even if examples of overt racism are rare, the guidance says.


As well as Education Scotland’s guidance, an anti-racist toolkit for teachers has been produced alongside a guide to anti-racist curriculum development from the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Racism of any form has no place in Scotland, which is why embedding anti-racism into the ethos and practice of our education system is imperative.

“This new Education Scotland guidance builds on existing resources available and was developed in collaboration with a range of young people, education practitioners and organisations with lived experience of racism and expertise in addressing it.

Coronavirus – Sun Aug 22, 2021
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville welcomed the new guidance (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Our schools and our curriculum seek to promote and inspire a sense of belonging, inclusion and social justice for learners, practitioners and the wider community.

“Having an education system that provides an opportunity for anti-racism learning, debate and leadership is crucial in our attempt to eradicate racism in wider society.”

Gayle Gorman, chief executive of Education Scotland, said: “It is essential that all our children and young people develop an understanding of the world around them and how it has been shaped, as well as an appreciation of the contribution made by people from a range of cultures and identities.

“Our new resource will support the profession to teach and build a society which advances equality and actively rejects and challenges racial discrimination.”



What do you think about Scotland’s new ‘Decolonisation’ of the curriculum?  Tell us down below!

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