Frequently asked questions
Advice for the school community
No, the Anti-Racism Policy applies to all public schools and workplaces in NSW. However, individual schools should have clear and robust processes which support policy implementation, including strategies for embedding anti-racism education into school planning and local processes for dealing with and recording incidents of racism and how they have been resolved.
Yes, the whole school community needs to be made aware of the policy and be advised who the school’s Anti-Racism Contact Officer (ARCO) is and how they can be contacted. This can be done using the school’s usual communication channels, such as newsletters and social media pages. Sample advice text is available for principals to use on the ARCOs webpage. Information for parents and carers about the role of the ARCO is available in 35 languages. It is also important to keep the school community informed about strategies being undertaken to support policy implementation at your school.
Yes, 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 available on the School leaders page for principals to use to advise volunteers and contractors about policy requirements.
All department staff will have to complete policy training after it becomes mandatory. The training is currently available on MyPL for staff to complete now if they wish to.
Staff will have 12 months to complete the mandatory policy training initially, and will need to complete the training every two years after that. Principals are encouraged to provide staff with time to complete this training during a school development day or during regular staff meeting time. Completing training with colleagues will facilitate professional discourse and an improved understanding of the policy and implications for planning and student learning at a local level.
Yes, all staff need to do the mandatory training.
Staff have 12 months to complete the mandatory training. If staff are on leave outside of this 12 month period, they must complete the training when they return to duty and every 2 years after that.
No, volunteers and contractors don’t have to do the mandatory training but they can, and should be encouraged to complete the training if they are dealing with students and other members of the school community. Volunteers and contractors can access the training through MyPL as community members. At a minimum, 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 available on the School leaders page for principals to use to advise volunteers and contractors about policy requirements.
Anti-Racism Contact Officers (ARCOs)
The ARCO should:
- be a full-time teacher or executive member of staff
- 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. Principals are encouraged to outline the support available for ARCOs to fulfil their role.
This support includes:
- The Department’s anti-racism education web pages include specific resources for ARCOs and information on complaints. The Anti-Racism Policy and the Anti-racism education – Implementation document provide valuable information for ARCOs to refer to.
- The Anti-racism Yammer community and the Anti-racism education statewide staffroom on MS Teams are useful for connecting with colleagues, sharing resources, and keeping updated.
- The nominated ARCO is provided with 10 hours accredited training to support them in their role. This training can be accessed at Anti-Racism Contact Officer (ARCO) blended online training course.
Every school must have at least one ARCO. Larger schools often choose to have more than one ARCO to assist in sharing the workload. Some schools have an ARCO for each stage group, while others have each Year Advisor trained as an ARCO. It is also useful to have a member of the executive trained as an ARCO. All nominated ARCOs are required to complete ARCO training which can be accessed through MyPL.
Principals are encouraged to make local arrangements to ensure the ARCO is able to perform the duties associated with their role. In addition to providing relief for new ARCOs to participate in initial training, it might also include providing relief from face-to-face teaching or other duties to support them in implementing anti-racism education initiatives in the school or to assist with responding to complaints of racism. A small amount of funding is provided to schools over a four-year cycle to assist in meeting the cost of ARCO relief to perform their role.
In order for the ARCO to be successful, they should be committed to anti-racism education and willing to undertake the role. If no member of the teaching staff is willing to undertake the role, it is recommended that the responsibility be given to an appropriate member of the school’s executive who can work with staff to build understanding of the role and encourage nominations in the future. It is also important for principals to find out the reasons teachers have not nominated to do the role, so that potential barriers can be understood and, as far as possible, addressed.
Managing issues and complaints of racism
Remind the parent that the department has an Anti-Racism Policy and is committed to eradicating racism and building harmonious cohesive communities. There is an expectation that all members of the school community should demonstrate respect for the cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds of others; and behave in ways that promote acceptance and harmony in the school environment.
When addressing an issue of racism involving parents on school grounds or online, reference can be made to the expectations of community members articulated in Section 1.2 of the policy. Note that parents who are volunteers have added responsibilities under the policy to ensure they behave in non-racist ways.
Follow the usual School Community and Consumer Complaints Procedure. You may also seek the involvement of the ARCO to ensure that the parent understands the complaints process and feels well supported and confident that their complaint will be taken seriously and be appropriately addressed.
Follow the Staff Complaint Procedure. You may also seek the involvement of the ARCO who can assist and provide impartial advice to the complainant about the complaints process and ensure the complainant feels well supported and confident that their complaint will be taken seriously and be appropriately addressed.
Schools should keep a record of all racist incidents, including complaints of racism and how they are resolved. Serious or recurring incidents of racism should be reported to the Director, Educational Leadership and targeted strategies implemented to reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence.
Explore web pages in this section and other Multicultural Education web pages for information about anti-racism education in schools and professional learning for staff. For more ideas, visit the Racism. No way! website which is managed by the Department on behalf of all Australian schools. For further advice contact the Multicultural Education team or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.