A new report 'Inclusive Britain: Government response to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities' has been published.
The Report, published Wednesday, 16 March 2022 follows The Sewell Report of 2021, and lists 71 measures described as being part of the government’s new 'Inclusive Britain action plan'.
In the House of Commons, when Kemi Badenoch MP, equalities minister shared the report, Taiwo Owatemi MP, shadow equalities minister, criticised the government for 'unquestioningly' accepting the commission’s findings, notably the 'controversial premise that there is no such thing as structural racism in our society.'
In response to the Report, Marlene Wylie, NSEAD President Elect said:
‘I am struggling with the Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch’s position here. In relation to the report, whilst many of the recommendations are welcome, I am in many respects still exasperated by the lack of detail around funding for example for the curriculum resource development. How can we feel confident that this report will bring about the urgent reforms that we need to see in anti-racist art education if funding is not made available through the government? This action would most definitely demonstrate their drive and commitment to see an Inclusive Britain. Sadly here, it is lacking.’
Marlene Wylie is a founding member of the NSEAD’s Anti-racist Art Education Action Group (ARAEA), representing arts educators from all phases and all sectors. The ARAEA are calling on the government to address the pressing need for anti-racist actions across the curriculum and in all schools. After school clubs, for example, are an add on, and a review of the history curriculum to be published in 2024 is too late.
The ARAEA said: 'Anti-racist curricular reform must be embedded across the curriculum. Now is the time to address the changes that are needed. We believe, here in the UK, our actions and in actions to date mean that systemic racism remains prevalent and is experienced by diverse ethnic communities in every school and across the arts and cultural sector. To actively advance anti-racism and to address inequalities in education, we do not feel that we can wait two years for just one subject to be reviewed. Without sufficient funding for curricular reform, CPD and EDI training, the ‘inclusive’ Britain that the report describes will remain a very distant hope.'
The Inclusive Britain report can be downloaded here.
More information about NSEAD's response
NSEAD has noted the Government’s recommendations and actions pertaining to art, craft and design education, and has addressed these recommendations and actions in turn below:
Build Social and Cultural Capital – enrichment for all.
For Action 61 the government, proposes lengthening the school day for 'disadvantaged pupils'. Whilst we understand that this is an attempt at catch-up beyond normal hours, we believe that the curriculum itself should be broad and balanced, that culture and the arts are prioritised as part of the nation’s recovery, and not as a postscript or add on.
Empower pupils to make more informed choices to fulfil their future potential.
Action 47: To improve careers guidance for all pupils in state-funded secondary education, the DfE will extend the current statutory duty on school to secure independent careers guidance to pupils throughout their secondary education.’
NSEAD is calling for regular subject-specific CPD for teachers so that they are better informed when offering careers guidance. All too often underrepresented communities do not see that art, craft and design is a viable career routes. How we ask, will we diversify the creative industries if teachers, parents and carers do not signpost the UK’s achievements in the creative industries, and that these routes are opened up for everyone.
Making of modern Britain: teaching an inclusive curriculum + Produce high-quality teaching resources, through independent experts, to tell the multiple, nuanced stories of the contributions made by different groups that have made this country the one it is today.
Action 57: To help pupils understand the intertwined nature of British and global history, and their own place within it, the DfE will work with history curriculum experts, historians and school leaders to develop a Model History curriculum by 2024 that will stand as an exemplar for a knowledge-rich, coherent approach to the teaching of history.
NSEAD asks: Why stop at history? And, why stop at ‘knowledge’? And why wait for 2024 to begin this work? Subject Associations such as NSEAD are already very well-placed to support curriculum development. NSEAD’s Anti-racist Art Education Curriculum and Resource Checklists – for example, are freely available for all art educators to use and to support this work. We have also worked with Oak Academy, soon to become The National Academy and believe the process of review and curriculum development would be helpful to share.
Action 59: To equip teachers to make ethical decisions and deliver high-quality education, the DfE will embed new reforms to transform the training and support teachers and school leaders receive at every stage of their career. These measures include national roll-out of the new Early Career Framework and reformed National Professional Qualifications from September 2021.
NSEAD recognises that there are teaching standards which be achieved through a generalist focus. However the ECT framework does not sufficiently address equity through subject-specific anti-racist actions and curricular reform.
Disaggregate the term ‘BAME’ + Stop using aggregated and unhelpful terms such as ‘BAME’, to better focus on understanding disparities and outcomes for specific ethnic groups.
Whilst NSEAD agrees with 'Action 5' but we strongly advise that educators across the sector need more than ‘encouragement to avoid lumping together different ethnic minority groups’. To support and build better understanding and how language evolves but essentially how anti-racist language helps lead anti-racist actions. To this end, NSEAD recommends that educators, indeed the government, are given funding and opportunity for equity, diversity and inclusion training.
The report goes on uses the term ‘ethnic minority’. We recommend that the report writers use 'global majority', 'ethnically diverse communities' or more specific terms. Information by the #BAMEover campaign provides a helpful guidance:
We are African Diaspora people
We are South, East, and South East Asian diaspora people.
We are Middle East and North African people.
We are ethnically diverse.
We reject ‘Minority: we are the global majority. And we reject ‘ethnic’. This terminology is centred on you seeing us as different.