ARCOs

Role of the Anti-Racism Contact Officer

Who can be an ARCO

The Anti-Racism Contact Officer (ARCO) is a teacher or executive member of staff who has been nominated by the principal to support anti-racism education in the school. The ARCO should:

  • be a full-time experienced teacher or executive member
  • be trusted by students, staff, parents/carers and the school community
  • have good communication and interpersonal skills
  • have a commitment to anti-racism education.

The cultural, linguistic or religious background of a teacher is not a criterion for selecting an ARCO. Depending on the size of the school and the needs of the school community, the principal may decide to nominate several ARCOs. For example, principals may nominate ARCOs for specific learning stages or to support wellbeing structures in the school.

Training

Principals are responsible for ensuring that newly nominated ARCOs complete the ARCO blended online training course. This training develops understanding of racism and the ARCO role and aims to increase confidence in supporting complaints of racism. An experienced ARCO, who has training as an ARCO tutor, will usually deliver the training. ARCOs are required to refresh their training every four years. Principals who handle complaints of racism may also complete this training. More information is available on the Professional support page.

The role of the ARCO

The ARCO plays an important role in assisting and working collaboratively with the principal to implement three major aspects of the Anti-Racism Policy:

Promote anti-racism education Support complaint-handling Monitor incidents of racism

provide advice on incorporating whole school anti-racism education strategies in school planning.

facilitate professional learning to build awareness of the impact of racism on social cohesion, student learning and wellbeing.

assist teachers to access resources which build awareness and understanding of the impacts of racism

promote upstander responses to incidents of racism for staff and students.

address complaints of racism involving students through approaches such as restorative practice which promote respectful behaviours.

provide advice on the complaints handling process to students, staff and members of the school community.

manage complaints of racism made by students against other students in accordance with the Behaviour Code for Students and the school’s discipline and wellbeing procedures.

provide impartial support to staff, students and members of the school community who wish to make a complaint of racism, in cases where the complaint involves staff or a member of the community.

support the complainant during the complaints handling process to increase the likelihood of a satisfactory outcome

maintain records of complaints and outcomes, as well as allegations and incidents of racism

identify which datasets regarding racism should be collected

analyse significant statistical trends in relation to complaints of racism

provide advice to the principal and/or nominated complaints manager regarding the impact of racism in the school.

Promoting the role of the ARCO

It is important that all members of the school community know who the ARCO is and what they do. Principals should make the school and wider community aware of the Complaints Handling Policy and the support available for addressing racism. Information about the procedures for making complaints of racism should be included at least once each year in school communications. Newsletters, parent and student meetings, assemblies, posters and social media may be used to raise awareness about the role of the school ARCO. Further information is available in the implementation guidelines [PDF 142KB].

Sample text for a letter to parents and carers is provided on the School Leaders webpage about the Anti-Racism Policy and the role of the ARCO.

The information below is an example of what schools can provide to parents and carers to promote the role of the ARCO:

Our commitment to anti-racism education

With your support, we do the very best we can to ensure culturally inclusive, cohesive, safe and engaging learning experiences for all our students. If at any time you find that you have a concern about racism in our school, you are encouraged to come to the school and talk with a member of staff so that your concern can be resolved. The NSW Department of Education has a Complaints Handling Policy to ensure that complaints are handled fairly. In the case of complaints relating to racism in schools, you can also contact the school Anti-Racism Contact Officer (ARCO) on telephone [insert number] or via email [insert address].

Resources for ARCOs

Anti-racism resources and kits are available from the Henry Parkes Equity Resource Centre.

Racism hurts promotional posters are a set of 5 posters (racism hurts me, racism hurts you, racism hurts everyone, reject racism and speak out against racism). You can request sets of these posters in A2 size from the Equity Resource Library. Alternatively you may print the posters in A3 size.

Return to top of page Back to top