1 in 3 pupils 'have witnessed racism in school'

More than a quarter of parents think children's behaviour to one another will be worse following the Covid-19 lockdown

Tes Reporter

'Anti-racist action must involve curriculum reform'

Nearly a third of young people have heard someone being racist at school, and 24 per cent have noticed a rise in bullying around race just before and during lockdown, a survey suggests.

Half of parents believe racism is a problem in schools but more than two in five – 41 per cent – of parents have not discussed racism with their child recently, according to research by the Diana Award charity.

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It comes as celebrities – including England defender Tyrone Mings and football manager Gareth Southgate – will come together to host a virtual anti-bullying assembly for primary schools.

In the survey – of 1,000 parents and 1,000 young people aged 6-16 – 32 per cent of pupils said they have heard someone be racist at school.

And more than a quarter – 28 per cent – of parents think the Covid-19 lockdown will have a negative impact on the way children behave towards each other when they return to class.

The survey was carried out ahead of the Diana Award’s virtual “big anti-bullying assembly”, which will be shown in primary school classrooms and homes on 28 September.

Celebrities including singer and television personality Peter Andre, The Vamps musician James McVey and Harry Potter actor Katie Leung are due to take part in the assembly, alongside other famous faces.

Mr Mings said: “I feel like everybody’s differences should be celebrated, there’s no shame or harm in being different so that’s why I’m putting my hand up to commit to putting an end to bullying.”

Alex Holmes, deputy chief executive of the Diana Award, which commissioned the research alongside Nationwide Building Society, said: “Racism is still a problem for our schools, young people and society.

“Our aim, with the support of Nationwide Building Society, is to continue to provide the resources and guidance to educate young people and equip them with the tools to help stamp out all forms of bullying for good, starting at a young age.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders’ union, said: “Education can play a pivotal role in tackling discrimination. It is through education that we can start to build a truly inclusive society. It is through education that we can discuss and challenge prejudice.

“Schools have a vital role to play in this work – not just through lessons but in everyday activities and special focus events like this assembly.

“It is important for all children to have positive role models from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicities. This helps to break down stereotypes and prejudice, and encourages children to broaden their horizons and ambitions and fulfil their educational potential.”

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