Anti-racism procedures

Direction and guidance on preventing and eliminating all forms of racism in NSW public education


All employees, students attending NSW public schools, parents, carers volunteers and contractors.

Version Date Description of changes Approved by
V06.0.0 10/05/2024 Updated under the 2023 Policy and procedure review program, including conversion to the new template and improved readability. Procedure updated to better reflect whole-of-department applicability and clarify the roles and responsibilities of leaders, education staff, school staff and all. Executive Director Educational Standards

About the policy

These procedures relate to the Anti-racism policy.

Term Definition


Ideas and practices that seek to confront and eradicate racism and racial discrimination on both the interpersonal and systemic level to uphold human rights and ensure equal opportunity for all members of society.

Cultural inclusion

Strategies that remove barriers to participation for people from culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse backgrounds and which seek out and value their contributions and perspectives.

Cultural safety

A term that usually refers to providing a high-expectations learning environment that is conducive to the diverse learning needs and aspirations of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students, and where the students’ cultures and identities are visible, centred and valued.

Culturally responsive

Being able to understand and consider the diverse cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds in the provision of services.


Behaviour that treats people unequally based on their perceived group membership. It can range from exclusion to hate crimes.


A way of thinking about fairness, which recognises that inequality affects how people access and benefit from systems and services. For the department, equity means that we recognise the rights of all students and learners to access and participate fully in education and realise their educational potential; we strive to adapt practices and policy settings to remove barriers to education; and channel support where it is most needed.


An unfounded opinion or attitude regarding a group or its individual members that is often unfavourable and often formed based on ignorance, fear and misinformation.


The process by which systems and policies, actions and attitudes create inequitable opportunities and outcomes for people based on race. Racism is more than just prejudice in thought or action. It occurs when this prejudice – whether individual or institutional – is accompanied by the power to discriminate against, oppress or limit the rights of others (the Australian Human Rights Commission, 2020).

Upstander response

Racism often happens in the presence of witnesses or bystanders. An upstander response is an active response where the person witnessing the racism acts, when it is safe to do so, by directly intervening, offering support to the person experiencing racism or by reporting the racism.

All employees, students attending NSW public schools, contractors, parents, carers and volunteers are expected to:

  • demonstrate respect for Aboriginal Peoples as the First Peoples
  • not discriminate against others based on their cultural, linguistic or religious background
  • demonstrate respect for the cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds of others and behave in ways that promote acceptance and harmony in NSW public education
  • call out racism, if safe to do so, as an upstander
  • report any incidents of racism to a teacher, Anti-Racism Contact Officer or workplace manager.

All staff must:

  • complete the mandatory professional learning, Anti-Racism Policy Training (staff only)
  • respond appropriately to incidents of racism
  • reflect on and monitor their own behaviour so that it does not result in anyone experiencing racism
  • implement the Anti-racism policy and ensure their actions comply with it.

Principals must:

  • lead the development and implementation of school practices and procedures that are consistent with the policy
  • provide accessible advice to all staff, students, volunteers, contractors and community members on their anti-racism responsibilities
  • provide access to and monitor compliance with mandatory professional learning, Anti-Racism Policy Training (staff only)
  • nominate Anti-Racism Contact Officer/s from their teaching staff, support them in their role and facilitate access to training.

Teachers must:

  • address racism when it occurs
  • build cultural safety and intercultural understanding
  • model and encourage mutual respect
  • implement practices that are culturally safe, responsive and inclusive
  • implement culturally inclusive and responsive curriculum (refer to Cultural inclusion).

Anti-Racism Contact Officers assist the principal to:

  • promote anti-racism education
  • support staff to address reports of racism between students
  • address reports and complaints of racism relating to staff and members of the school community
  • collect data about reports and complaints, and monitor incidents of racism.

Workplace managers and senior executive officers must:

  • provide access to and monitor compliance with mandatory professional learning, Anti-Racism Policy Training (staff only)
  • develop, review and evaluate policies, systems, strategies and curriculum initiatives that reflect equity and anti-racism principles and promote these principles in their workplaces
  • monitor departmental practices and processes to ensure they are consistent with the policy and enable people from all cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds to participate equitably in NSW public education.

Leader, Multicultural Education:

  • provides advice on the interpretation and implementation of this policy
  • develops and delivers anti-racism education professional learning, including mandatory training for all departmental employees and training for Anti-Racism Contact Officers.

What needs to be done

To eliminate racism from schools and department workplaces, we need strong leadership to drive anti-racism initiatives and a committed workforce that can prevent and counter racism.

1. Understand racism and its impacts

All leaders:

  • maintain data on reports and incidents of racism and their resolution
  • support employees to build an understanding of racism and the skills needed to counter it.

All staff:

  • commit to understanding all forms of racism, and its impacts on individuals and society
  • recognise the historical and ongoing impact of racism on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities
  • participate in ongoing professional learning to deepen understandings.

2. Take action to prevent racism

All leaders:

  • establish and implement evidence-based, system-wide initiatives to eliminate racism
  • build cultures of respect, safety and inclusion.

In addition, school leaders:

  • implement educational practices that reflect high expectations for students of all cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds
  • provide resources and supports that are equitable and inclusive of the needs of students and staff from culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse backgrounds
  • implement strategies to increase the knowledge and understanding of all students and staff of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, histories, cultures, and experiences
  • develop and implement culturally safe, inclusive and responsive programs to ensure students learn in a supportive environment free from prejudice and discrimination
  • collaboratively develop and implement whole-school anti-racism strategies to eliminate racism.

All staff:

  • engage in respectful conversations about race and racism
  • maintain culturally inclusive and responsive practices and culturally safe workplaces.

3. Respond effectively to racism

All leaders:

  • establish and maintain procedures to respond to reports and incidents of racism
  • implement action to address and resolve incidents and reports of racism
  • identify and acknowledge all incidents of racism and use them to inform action taken to prevent future occurrences.

In addition, school leaders:

  • support all members of the school community who experience or witness racism
  • use restorative practice approaches to help students understand their behaviour and impact on others.

All staff:

  • take every incident or report of racism seriously
  • consistently follow local procedures to report and respond to incidents of racism
  • support colleagues and stakeholders who experience or witness racism.

Mandatory tools and templates

Supporting tools, resources and related information

Policy contact

The Executive Director, Educational Standards monitors the implementation of this procedure, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.

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