Good practice, but it's far too patchy

18th March 2005 at 00:00
The education inspectorate's report, published on the same day as the research report, reached the same conclusion - "that good practice in tackling racism and promoting race equality is not consistent across Scotland".

HMIE's findings are based on visits to education authorities during 2002-03, but the report maintains they are borne out by more recent evidence from schools.

The report, Promoting Race Equality - Making It Happen, followed the implementation of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, which came into effect in Scotland in November 2002. This imposed a duty on education authorities and other public bodies not just to ensure race equality but actively to promote it.

Schools singled out as examples of good practice included: Borestone primary in Stirling, which has a roll of around 275 pupils, almost all from white Scottish backgrounds. Following the introduction of the 2000 Act, the headteacher led a staff review of how the school promoted race equality and designed a programme to ensure that policies were felt throughout the school.

Some concepts are also taught discretely under personal and social development. From nursery to P4, pupils look at "cultures in the school and community". From P5-P7, they look at "cultures not in the school or community".

Pupils at P5-P7 also study prejudice and bigotry, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, stereotyping and anti-racist education.

Kersland School in Paisley has around 70 primary and secondary-age pupils with severe learning difficulties, almost all from white Scottish backgrounds.

The school celebrates all major religious festivals through its curricular programme for religious and moral education, and pupils participate in a range of experiences to promote their understanding of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.

In celebrating Diwali, they are encouraged to taste traditional foods.

Teachers use digital cameras to record the celebrations and use the photographs to discuss and extend understanding of diversity. There are prominent displays in classrooms and around the main corridors, as well as traditional music and opportunities to create artwork relating to the celebrations.

Across the curriculum, HMIE found, staff ensure that all resources reflect a multicultural, multi-ethnic society and promote positive images. The school has written and developed its own reading scheme. Illustrations and photographs use a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

Hillhead High in Glasgow is a secondary with just over 1,100 pupils, around 300 of whom are from minority ethnic backgrounds representing approximately 30 countries.

The school's notice board displays the word "welcome" in all the pupils'

first languages. A "Minority Time Activities Programme" on Friday afternoons takes in attendance at a mosque, Asian music, human rights, Chinese cultural activity, Amnesty International, Greek language and dance, and Urdu.

As well as celebrating various cultural and religious festivals, the school links include:

* Involving ethnic minority role models in various work, enterprise and careers activities.

* Teaching community languages (Urdu, Punjabi, Chinese).

* Commissioning a multicultural mural, designed by a former pupil and prepared by pupils.

* Staging community Interfest events to celebrate the range of cultures and nationalities within the school.

External links include:

* Encouraging visits by pupils and teachers from countries such as Canada, the United States, Brazil, Taiwan, India, Malta, China, Finland, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand and Iceland.

* International visits by pupils and staff, most recently to France, the United States, Germany, Italy and Austria.

* Staff exchange visits to Karachi Grammar in Pakistan and to Dakhar College in Bangladesh.

* Joint EU Comenius projects with Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Romania.

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