Countering racism

The principal is responsible for ensuring the school's culture and practices do not racially discriminate against a particular group or individual as per the department’s Anti-racism Policy. The three dimensions of anti-racism education in schools are to:

  1. promote respect for Australia's cultural, linguistic and religious diversity
  2. challenge prejudiced attitudes and
  3. address racist and discriminatory behaviours with sanctions.

Anti-racism education involves whole-school strategies and classroom teaching and learning. The principal must nominate an Anti-Racism Contact Officer (ARCO) in their school to assist in ensuring that:

  • teaching and learning programs are culturally inclusive
  • programs reflect respect for diversity and build intercultural understanding
  • timely and professional responses are made to complaints about racism
  • the role of the ARCO is promoted to staff, students and parents.

School responsibilities

As outlined in the Anti-racism Policy, each school should include anti-racism strategies in their local plans.

The website Racism.No way! provides an audit tool for schools to determine indicators of racism in their school. The tool gathers data necessary to ascertain which actions and interventions are needed.

Each school can foster inclusive practices to connect and consult with all aspects of the school community. For example, reviewing how community members join representative bodies such as the Parents and Citizens Association (P&C) and the Student Representative Council (SRC), to ensure involvement from a diverse group.

The SBS Insight TV program Holroyd High: The school of hope for refugee students provides an example of how inclusive practices result in above average university entrance for students.

Encouraging parents and the school community to participate in anti-racism education creates stronger relationships and response to local needs. Go to engaging communities for more information.

The Anti-Racism Policy requires schools to identify in their school reports the anti-racism activities they've implemented.

Schools should collect data on strategies implemented, and the effectiveness of their anti-racism education strategies to assist in their reporting.

The department reports on their progress in implementing anti-racism education strategies in the Multicultural Policies and Services Program Report.

Current research in anti-racism education should be used to inform the development of anti-racism strategies. Go to research for more information.

Explicit teaching

Teachers play a crucial role in choosing and delivering programs that reflect the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the school community. Opportunities for teaching students how to recognise and counter racism, and challenge prejudices can be built into:

  • class programs, integrated with learning areas
  • student workshops conducted by the Anti-Racism Contact Officer or by teachers
  • student conferences and leadership activities.

Culturally inclusive and culturally safe classrooms enable students from all cultural backgrounds and communities to identify as Australian, within our democratic multicultural society. This ultimately helps students to develop the knowledge, skills and values to participate fully as active Australian citizens and builds harmony within our society.

The following resources can be used for explicit teaching on racism, inclusion and diversity.

  • Racism. No way! – lesson ideas linked to a range of learning areas.
  • Roads to Refuge – teaching ideas to promote understandings of the refugee, asylum seeker and migrant experience.
  • The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) – lesson ideas for teachers and units of work linked to NSW Board of Studies syllabuses for the Australian curriculum.
  • Rights Ed – resources focusing on racism and race relations mapped to the Australian curriculum and have interactive activities, worksheets and assessment tasks.
  • The Aboriginal Education and Community Engagement Directorate – information to support schools to plan and meet Aboriginal student needs and build understandings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories.
  • Narragunnawali – supports all schools and early learning services in Australia with professional learning and curriculum resources to foster a higher level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.
  • Difference Differently Together – explores the benefits and challenges of living with diversity and includes online activities for primary and secondary students and a diversity question and answer.
  • NSW Cultural Exchange – promotes intercultural understanding in schools.
  • All Together Now – provides anti-racism learning resources.
  • The Final Quarter – 52 lessons designed for Years 5-12 that investigate racism, privilege, truth-telling, cultural pride, resilience, values and dignity.
  • The Australian Dream – The five videos discuss the themes of Indigenous Australian identity; history and truths; racism; and resilience and reconciliation.
  • Face up to Racism – creative classroom resources linked to documentaries from the SBS Face Up To Racism season.
  • Teaching Tolerance – a USA based site which provides free classroom resources to educators including lesson plans.

It’s important for students to have access to contemporary and relevant anti-racism resources. Students explore current social issues and learn about important historical, national and world events such as the impacts of colonisation, Holocaust, White Australia Policy, Apartheid or Stolen Generations. They become aware of the injustice of racism and how it shapes their views and behaviours.

Incorporating anti-racism education into broader student wellbeing programs, such as peer support and anti-bullying programs, can also reinforce the message that racism isn’t tolerated.

Bystander responses to racism

By speaking up when we witness racism we can all help to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. All members of our school community deserve to be treated fairly and to feel safe and respected. Resources on bystander action are available at Racism. No Way. Standing up to racism can be a powerful sign of support. It can also make the perpetrator think twice about their actions. See tips on how to be a supportive bystander at Racism. It Stops With Me.

The Partnership Agreement with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc.

The NSW Department of Education and NSW AECG Incorporated Partnership Agreement (PDF 4.67 MB) is based on the principles of respect, commitment, collaboration and accountability to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal learners.

The Partnership Agreement is based on a genuine and practical approach to working together to improve outcomes for Aboriginal learners by ensuring that they have access to an education and training system that values their cultural heritage and identity and supports their learning and career development through quality teaching practices, relevant policies and strategies and inclusive curriculum and training programs.

Return to top of page Back to top