Racism and Racist Incidents Subgroup minutes: December 2023

Minutes from the group's meeting on 6 December 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS) - Chair
  • Project Esperanza 
  • Respectme
  • Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER)
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Independant Consultant on Racism
  • Central Scotland Regional Equality Council (CSREC)
  • Youthlink Scotland
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • Connect
  • Scottish Government Health and Wellbeing Unit 


  • Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Unit
  • Scottish Government Health and Wellbeing Unit Head

Items and actions


The Chair welcomed members to the meeting and noted that Agenda item 3 will be postponed to January due to change in chairing arrangements. The Chair welcomed the new member from Project Esperanza. The Chair welcomed the new representative from CEMVO, who will be taking forward CEMVO’s role as joint Chair. The Chair noted apologies from the Scottish Government joint Chair. Chair noted the workstream responsibilities in relation to co-working. 

Previous minutes

The Chair noted that the draft minutes had been circulated to members for their consideration. No comments had been received and members confirmed they were content for the minutes to be published.  Action: Secretariat to publish November minutes on Scottish Government website. 

Update on children and young people engagement

This agenda item was postponed to the January meeting. 

Workstream workplan

The Chair introduced a paper with a proposed schedule for drafting the whole school approach.

Comments and suggestions from members included:

  • discussion of the definition of whole school approach (WSA). Confirmed that this includes parents, whole school community. Including wider support staff, pupils, teachers, parents. Consideration of using “whole school community approach” to make this clear
  • the group discussed the role of local authorities with regard to support and provision of training 
  • it was suggested that once WSA is in place, there could be an opportunity to work with local authorities’ Quality Improvement Officers about how it could be utilised. there would be resourcing implications of this. WSA is also aiming to have preventative aspect
  • it was noted that recruitment of staff and accountability for racism experienced by school staff is responsibility of local authority
  • parental involvement act requires local authorities to support parent councils in their work. Could there be training delivered to parent councils
  • can there be a link with Inspectorate so that anti racism policies are included in evaluations
  • there is a read across to the current Respect for All (RfA) refresh. Outputs of this workstream should be reflected in RfA
  • the member from Respectme offered to share with the group about current research on the definition of bullying and links to WSA
  • research indicates that preventative approaches for bullying work best when responsibility is individualised; if moving too far away from schools, then responsibility can become diluted
  • the remit and work of the RRI is focused on schools. May have limited applications elsewhere
  • racial trauma is included in Section 2 of skeleton WSA. It was suggested that IYS Mental Health service could speak to the group about their work supporting young people who experience racism
  • the glossary section will be important; specific terminology needs to be highlighted. Group may wish to consider balancing of terms from anti-racism and race equality
  • the workplan is blueprint for how we work together
  • members considered whether various media formats could be used with WSA. There are opportunities to be creative within the parameters of hosting on the Scottish Government website. Anything linked from SG website needs to be text based (this helps the guide to stay current). There are opportunities for additional resources in other locations eg GLOW blog. Getting the WSA right first will highlight what work needs to be done to communicate and disseminate the guidance

Members confirmed that they are content to work to the schedule proposed in the workplan. The Chair noted that some of this discussion will apply to the content of the guidance rather than the workplan, and will be brought into the relevant areas at the appropriate stage. Action: Respectme to share with the group about current research on the definition of bullying and links to WSA at future meeting.

Draft introduction to the WSA

The Chair introduced the Draft Introduction paper. Comments and suggestions received included:

  • everyone is protected by the Equality Act; the focus of this guidance is those with the protected characteristic of race 
  • reference to AREP commitment; could this go into RRI guidance? Ensure unity across the different aspects of Anti-racism in Education Programme (AREP)
  • long section in Intro about legal aspects and responsibilities could be condensed into small section, with detail in the appendix
  • there should be something about institutional racism. This may be in glossary
  • included vs involved; included can be tokenistic. Use “included and involved”
  • FREDA approach (fairness, respect, equality, dignity and autonomy) is person-centred. PANEL approach (participation, accountability, non-discrimination and equality, empowerement and legality) is organisational
  • hate crime section; to note that this will be updated to reflect current status of hate crime work as WSA progresses
  • Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) should be in legal section. Also consider addition of Human Rights Act
  • line about SG incorporating; needs to be less about SG perspectives and more about schools 
  • effects of racism: another effect can be lack of opportunities for those who experience racism
  • confidence and self esteem goes down. There are many more knock-on effects of experiencing racism 
  • need to mention parents/carers/families earlier on in the introduction, for example a line about developing a whole school community culture of inclusion, welcome. A whole school plan needs to incorporate all parents/carers. This is especially important when a lot of language or attitudes may be learned at home

The Chair noted that further comments are welcomed and draft will be brought back to group. It was noted that the glossary will need further consideration; this should be tied with wider AREP and should be uniform across the subgroups. 

  • Action: IYS Chair to raise that workstreams are considering terminology at Programme Board and ask for views. 
  • Action: Secretariat to apply comments and bring updated version to future workstream meeting. 

AREP factsheet

The Secretariat noted that the AREP Factsheet is now available on the SG website. RRI members have been invited to consider if there are items they wish to add for RRI. Some other workstreams have linked to resources which are relevant to their own work; this could may be something that RRI members wish to do. Action: revisit AREP factsheet at future meeting to discuss if RRI wish to make any additions. 

Members reflected again on plans for the RRI WSA. Members noted the publication of the Anti Racist Curriculum Principles. These should be included in the WSA for occasions in school when discussion about race or diversity can lead to incidents of racism. They are also applicable to discussion of world events in the classroom. Consideration for school staff to be sensitive of particular scenarios which can cause distress. 

Importance of inclusion of parents; need guidance to support reporting racism, and support discussion of racist incidents in schools. There can be conflict for children between what is acceptable in school settings and home setting. Teachers who do not have lived experience of racism can sometimes rely on children and young people who experience racism, to become anti racist educators. Often anti racist activity can be in response to an incident rather than proactive. Need to ensure that practitioners are careful about using ‘diversity days’ or similar tools. Training for school staff would be within remit of Education Leadership and Professional Learning (ELPL) workstream, and links can be made through members who sit on both groups. It may be useful to showcase examples of how things can be done well within schools. 

Any other business

No further business raised. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 30 January. 

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