Racism and Racist Incidents Subgroup: October 2023

Minutes from the group's meeting on 11 October 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS) - Chair
  • Education Scotland
  • General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS)
  • Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES)
  • Youthlink Scotland
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • Independent consultant on racism
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Respectme
  • Central Scotland Regional Equality Council (CSREC)
  • Scottish Government Health and wellbeing 

Items and actions

Welcome and note of previous meeting

The Chair welcomed members and noted apologies from CEMVO and Scottish Government early learning and childcare colleagues. The Chair noted the guidance on respectful dialogue as found in the Terms of Reference

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed for publication on Scottish Government website.

Action: Secretariat to arrange publication of minutes.

Revised Terms of Reference (ToR)

A revised copy of the Terms of Reference had been circulated, which changes made to reflect feedback at the last meeting. The Chair noted that previous suggested comments about inclusion of community learning and development (CLD) have not been actioned as this has wider programme implications for the Anti-Racism in Education Programme (AREP).

Scottish Government confirmed that the focus of this work is for schools, but it can be noted in the whole-school approach (WSA) that there may be applications of this work to other education settings. The working group recognises the valuable contribution of CLD colleagues but need to limit the scope of this work to focus on schools due to whole-programme implications and resourcing. 

One member noted that they had further comments on the Terms of Reference. It was agreed that these comments will be shared via email, and the Secretariat will update the Terms of Reference for consideration via correspondence.

Further comments were received:

  • group can consider how to share work with CLD, even if work is not formally for CLD settings
  • link to GTCS professional standard in ToR is broken. Secretariat to fix

The group were content to agree this version of the ToR for use at present, while acknowledging that it is a living document which can be updated taking on board additional comments. 


  • additional comments on ToR to be shared with group via correspondence
  • Secretariat to update ToR following additional comments
  • Secretariat to fix broken links in ToR

Action plan

The comments received at the previous meeting have been incorporated. 

Further comments received as follows:

  • what processes are there for gathering information from children and young people (CYP)? The Chair confirmed that there is a mechanism in place for AREP-wide CYP engagement and that engagement is ongoing across the Programme this year and next year. RRI workstream can consider if/how they wish to engage with CYP in addition to this
  •  is there a mechanism for CYP who hear about the programme to engage voluntarily? Scottish Government confirmed that if CYP write to Scottish Government with individual concerns, or queries, it is outside the remit of this workstream to correspond. In this case, it is the responsibility of Scottish Government to respond, with signposting for support 
  • it is unlikely that CYP request to join workstream membership, but there are existing mechanisms if a CYP did make this request
  • how are we collecting views from CYP with additional support needs (ASN)? It was confirmed that the SG Chair of RRI is also the Scotish Government unit head responsible for ASN support in schools. There are already established mechanisms for engaging with CYP with ASN, and SG can provide further detail on this as required once work is underway
  • will there be guidance for CYP in accessible formats? An accessible version of the WSA will need to be given consideration once further discussions have been made on what it will look like and what it will include. SG provided assurance that ASN considerations will be taken forward as work goes ahead 
  • On outcome 2 regarding recoding and monitoring. Will recording and monitoring be done on SEEMiS? Will different approaches be considered? It was confirmed that the workstream may wish to consider approaches to recording and monitoring within the framework. SG flagged that there is ongoing work on the issue of recording and monitoring as part of work around relationships and behaviour; this is not limited to anti-bullying and can include other behaviours, including RRI
  • Education Scotland is carrying out phase two of its thematic inspection on approaches to recording and monitoring bullying incidents in schools. This inspection is looking at good practice on recording and monitoring. There may be learning from this about interesting practice that could be beneficial or applicable to RRI
  • the outcome of the thematic inspection, once available, should come to future RRI workstream meeting to enable members to look at areas of interest

The workstream were content to agree the action plan. 

Skeleton whole-school approach (WSA)

The Chair noted that the Skeleton WSA has been produced with reference to the action plan, Terms of Reference, and suggestions made by workstream members at the September meeting. 

The Chair asked members to consider if the skeleton outline is a good basis for development; and if there are aspects which need to be added?

Members noted support of this foundation, adding that the main ingredients are present to enable future development. 

Further comments received:

  • section 1 on creating whole school anti racist environment: could this include ‘curriculum, curriculum design, learning and teaching’ to include a section on pedagogy. Also add ‘culture’, as this underpins much of what happens in schools
  • section 2 on guidance for schools about good practice in supporting CYP who has experienced racism: need to add pastoral support following a disclosure, for example staff knowing to confirm to the child that they are believed, being child-centred in response, wellbeing and safety considerations in immediate period after disclosure
  • change to: clear guidance for schools on their responsibilities in relation to responding to racist incidents when they occur, including good practice in supporting young people who have experienced racism and racist incidents
  • the Respectme resource ‘addressing inclusion: effectively challenging racism in schools’ was noted as an early attempt to address these issues and was well received by the sector when launched. Respectme are planning to update this is due course, which could sit alongside or be referenced by the RRI WSA guidance
  • members were invited to share another pieces of helpful guidance which may be useful to include in Resources in the WSA
  • the group discussed whether the reference to ‘curriculum’ should be ‘anti-racist curriculum’ instead. It was agreed to remain as ‘curriculum’, in case ‘anti-racist curriculum’ be perceived as something specialised or separate from the ‘rest’ of the curriculum. ‘Curriculum’ comprises totality of CYP experiences. It is likely that both terms will be used in the WSA 
  • important to keep a good balance between Section 1 (on preventing) and Section 2 (on responding)
  • there was discussion of the positioning of the school staff section within the document to ensure it was seen as an integral element of the report. It was agreed this would be considered during the drafting process
  • it was noted that while other sections focused on what particular groups should do following an incident, that this was not currently included within the staff section. It was agreed that this would be added to skeleton
  • addition of section on what happens if families/parents/carers feel that they have personally experienced racism from the school. What can they do or where can they seek support? This would be part of whole school culture and ethos
  • the WSA should have fuller references to the Scottish Schools (Parental Engagement) Act 2006, and more specific reference to forums through which parents may be engaged (councils, etc) and how this contributes to whole school approach
  • research on the whole-family impact that occurs when children experience racism at school was discussed. This research can be utilised in evidence base for WSA
  • there is currently no reference to taking a trauma-informed approach and creating a safe space within school. This should be added to skeleton. It was noted that the AREP Board have been considering this topic. NES have produced a summary of care experiences and trauma which may be a useful format to refer to. The working group need to consider what resources are available specifically on racial trauma. It was noted that registered teachers have access to reading and research resources on trauma-informed approaches which could be referenced within WSA
  • workstream may wish to consider how they access research to use as an evidence base, particularly research focused on Scotland. SG library could be requested to do a literature review for the group
  • WSA should be clear about the respective responsibilities of individual teachers, school leadership, and local authorities so that everyone who refers to the guidance knows what is expected
  • how as a group are we hoping to populate/draft the WSA? The working group can consider this at future meeting. There will be significant drafting work to be done, which may pull in different members at different stages
  • accessibility and format was discussed, noting that long length can be discouraging for practitioners, but that if the document sets out a WSA then all relevant groups should have access to an appropriate document for their needs
  • it was explained that regardless of the format, the document will be published on the Scottish Government website, which has restrictions on publication formats. Looking at additional formats/means to dissemination was agreed as an action for discussion at future meeting
  • on ASN, SG noted that the Supporting Learners Team, sits under wider Unit responsibilities so SG will make those links and expertise available as part of the development of this work
  •  it was noted that Respect for All has a policy document and also an interactive website, which can be segmented for different audiences. There are also different spaces on the Education Scotland National Improvement Hub, with a specific section of the GLOW website for dealing with racist incidents which will be updated with the work of this group. There is also Parentzone

Members noted support of this foundation, adding that the main ingredients are present to enable future development. 

It was agreed that the next step is to consider how to work on this going forward, including practical considerations around format, audience, and accessibility. 


  • section 1 change to ‘curriculum, curriculum deign, learning, teaching and culture’
  • add pastoral support following disclosure to Section 2
  • add section on what to do next following an incident, for pupils, staff, and parents
  • add section on support for parents if they have personally experienced racism from the school
  • add reference to Scottish Schools (Parental engagement) Act 2006 and forums through which parents may be engaged
  • add section on trauma-informed approaches
  • agenda item at future meeting to cover practical considerations such as format, audience, and drafting of document

Any other business

It was noted that the winner of the 2023 GTCS Saroj Lal Award was Hardeep Kaur, and part of the work she has done is developing an accessible procedure for reporting racist incidents in school which may be of interest to the work of this workstream. 

The Chair thanked members for their contributions today and reminded them of the next meeting scheduled for 8 November at 3pm. 

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