This study has been conducted to investigate issues of racism and inequality in the education
system and to identify the barriers to tackling racism and promoting race equality in the
country’s classrooms. A mixed method approach was adopted; interviews were carried out with
people working within the education system across four different geographical areas and
these were triangulated with a quantitative questionnaire distributed to teachers across the
country. Evidence was also gathered through observation and journals which recorded the
responses of young people and teachers engaging in anti-racism education over the eighteen month period of the research project.
The study found that within the sample racist attitudes and behaviours are common amongst
both pupils and teachers. However, many school leaders are not engaging with the issue of race
equality and are often unaware of the attitudes that exist amongst their pupils. Most of the
teachers surveyed had received little or no education with regards to tackling racism or promoting race equality whilst training or teaching. Resultantly they do not have the knowledge, skills or resources to be able to deal with these issues in the classroom. Many consider the best approach to be to adopt a colour-blind position of ignoring difference and attempting to treat all children the same. There is evidence of positive work being undertaken, however this appears in some part to be driven be a few committed individuals and there is a lack of evidence that the majority of institutions have made a serious attempt to embed race equality.
The study highlights that there is a need for widespread training, including in-service
training to empower educators in England with the skills and knowledge required to consider
issues of race equality in their lesson planning and delivery; to value and acknowledge differences and similarities amongst their pupils; to tackle racism and to create an environment of openness where young people develop positive attitudes and a critical awareness of the world.