School leaders

Principals lead the development of school practices and procedures that eradicate expressions of racism and challenge attitudes that allow them to occur. They model appropriate behaviour and lead positive change within the school community.

The responsibility for countering racism should not fall on students and staff from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) and Aboriginal peoples. It is important that school leaders are vocal about racism, diversity and inclusion and consider the viewpoints and lived experiences of students and staff who have experienced racism or who do not feel a sense of inclusion at school or in the broader community.

Implementing the policy

The principal is responsible for ensuring that complaints of racism are dealt with in accordance with the Complaints Handling Policy and the Anti-Racism Policy.

All schools are required to have a trained Anti-Racism Contact Officer (ARCO) who assists the principal in leading anti-racism education in the school and supporting complainants through the complaints handling process. In larger schools the principal may nominate several staff as ARCOs.

Materials to support school leaders in introducing the revised policy and training are provided below:

Dear parents and carers

With your support, we do the very best we can to ensure that our students feel safe and are able to reach their potential.

The Department of Education rejects all forms of racism and is committed to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination in NSW public schools. The Department’s Anti-Racism Policy aims to ensure that no student, employee, parent, carer or community member experiences racism within the school environment.

The policy asks all members of the school community to assist in countering racism by demonstrating respect for the cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds of others, and by behaving in ways that promote acceptance and harmony in the school environment.

Each school has an Anti-Racism Contact Officer (ARCO) who is trained to assist with complaints and countering racism. For more information about anti-racism and the role of the ARCO, see: Anti-Racism Policy - Information for parents and carers.

Thank you for assisting us to maintain a positive school environment in which all forms of racism are rejected. Please contact me if you or your child experience any form of racism, witness anyone experiencing racism at our school, or if you would like further information or support.

Yours sincerely

Principal


Interpreter assistance

If you would like more information and you need an interpreter to help you to contact the school or the Principal please ring the Telephone Interpreter Service on 131 450 and ask for an interpreter in your language.

Tell the operator the school’s phone number and the operator will ring the school and get an interpreter on the line to help you with your conversation.

You will not be charged for interpreting services.

  • Volunteers and contractors must be made aware of the policy, their responsibilities and the school's procedures for reporting and managing incidents of racism. Sample advice text is provided below:

Our partnerships with parents, carers, volunteers and contractors are integral to the successful achievement of the transformational change that public schools deliver. We value your involvement in the school as a volunteer or contractor to help us best support our students and community.

The Department of Education is committed to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination in NSW public schools. The Anti-Racism Policy  applies to all departmental employees, students attending NSW public schools, volunteers and contractors.

The policy states that employees, volunteers and contractors must not discriminate against others on the basis of their cultural, linguistic or religious background. It also asks all members of the school community to assist in countering racism by demonstrating respect for cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds of others, and by behaving in ways that promote acceptance and harmony in the school environment.

Thank you for assisting us to maintain a positive school environment in which all forms of racism are rejected. Please contact me if you experience any form of racism, witness anyone experiencing racism at our school, or if you would like further information about the Anti-Racism Policy.

Leading whole school approaches

The most effective strategies for countering racism are typically those which are integrated into whole school approaches and regular school routines and those which are proactive in creating a school culture of high expectations, equity and respect. Evidence also shows that the first step in countering racism is learning how to recognise it and understanding its impact on individuals, systems and communities.

The resources below may be used to reflect on current practices and promote understanding of racism and its impact.

Resources

Leading

Teaching

Learning

Does the school leadership team model a commitment to the values that support anti-racism education: equity, inclusion, justice, voice, respect and wellbeing?

Do Aboriginal staff and staff from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds feel valued and respected?

Is the diversity of the school community reflected in the workforce and in school decision making and consultative processes?

Whose voice is heard?

Does teaching promote intercultural understanding and accurately reflect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures?

Does teaching practice promote a culture of high expectations and equity for all students?

Are teachers well equipped to respond to incidents of racism?

Do students feel a sense of belonging at school? Why/why not?

Is expression of cultural identity valued and promoted?

Is there evidence of equitable participation and learning outcomes across all student cohorts?

Do student wellbeing programs promote cultural inclusion and mutual respect?

We don’t need anti-racism education because:

Response

We don’t have many Aboriginal students or students from language backgrounds other than English (LBOTE).

  • Every student needs to understand and be able to engage critically with issues relating racism within our culturally diverse society. This enables them to develop informed opinions and prepares them for life and work beyond school. Research shows that understanding racism, including our rights and responsibilities relating to racial discrimination, is an important first step in countering it in society.
  • The development of key related concepts – such as the general capability of intercultural understanding and the cross-curriculum priority area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures – are integrated across NSW syllabuses.  
  • Only 7% of NSW public schools do not have Aboriginal students – 32% of schools have 30 or more Aboriginal students CESE 2021.
  • More than a third (36.9%) of students came from homes where there are language backgrounds other than English (LBOTE) spoken by either the students themselves and/or at least one parent or carer and only 9% of all schools do not have a student who has a LBOTE CESE 2021.

We treat everyone the same and educate about respect for difference.

  • Mutual respect is an important value to promote, and it is based on understanding of another’s views, perspectives and experiences. This includes understanding of how racial discrimination and historical practices have impacted, and continue to impact on, Aboriginal people and other people from culturally diverse backgrounds. 
  • To be equitable we need to recognise that each student has different factors and circumstances which may affect their learning and wellbeing. To achieve equal outcomes, different approaches, pedagogies and opportunities may be required to meet the needs of individual students.

We are focused on “closing the gap” for Aboriginal students.

  • Very often debates seek to minimise the impact racism has had on Aboriginal students and their families. We need to understand the impact of intergenerational trauma resulting from racism on Aboriginal student opportunity and achievement.
  • Many Aboriginal people are still reporting experiences of racism. To effectively “close the gap”, all potential barriers to equitable participation and outcomes need to be examined and addressed.

We take a “zero tolerance” approach to unacceptable student behaviour.

  • While it is important to be clear about what behaviour is appropriate for students, understanding what may be causing or triggering challenging behaviour is critical for the development of effective strategies which result in long-term, positive behavioural change.
  • Supporting student wellbeing and promoting students’ sense of belonging and cultural expression assists in creating a harmonious environment which promotes positive behaviour amongst students.

We focus on high expectations for everyone to support students to achieve well.

  • To assist every student to achieve positive learning outcomes, it is essential to have both high expectations as well as deep understanding of the barriers that may inhibit learning and the strategies which may enhance it. This includes understanding how racism can limit the experiences and ambitions of students and how culturally inclusive curriculum and pedagogy can assist students to engage positively with learning.

We are a highly multicultural school so we don’t have a problem with racism.

  • On an individual level, anyone can experience racial prejudice or discrimination, or discriminate against others on the basis of their race, country of birth or cultural or language background. We need to support all students to understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to racism.
  • Understanding the impact that racism can have on a systemic level and how historical racist practices have disadvantaged specific groups is also essential. For students, this means being able to explore and critically engage with key concepts which appear in contemporary discourse and in the media. For schools, this means having the knowledge required to identify and address potential areas of inequity.
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