Anti-Racism in Education

Betty Campbell Granddaughter helps launch
anti-racism training for teachers in Wales.

The granddaughter of Wales’ first black headteacher, Betty Campbell, and one of her former pupils have developed pioneering anti-racist training for schools. The training was launched by Education Minister Jeremy Miles at Llanwern high in Newport.

Betty Campbell’s granddaughter Rachel Clarke and her former pupil Chantelle Haughton said racism in schools was about more than the insults and attacks that occur. Racism was also present in the texts, syllabus and topics taught in schools and the weight given to stories and histories of communities.

There is lots of fear around anti racist training, but it’s not about taking away, more about making sure what is there is balanced so that people with one history are not seen as more or less important,” said Rachel, who is deputy head at Mitchell Brook Primary School in London.

“Racism is experienced every day but it’s not all about terrible examples of that, but the way it is woven into the curriculum and the value placed on stories. For example the Atlantic slave trade is often the only exposure of Black people that children receive in history.”

Llanwern High deputy head Sian Smith said her school was “uncomfortable” teaching Of Mice and Men: “There is a realisation in our school that Of Mice and Men is very uncomfortable because of the use of the n-word. The way we teach that is very different now having listened to learners.”

Chantelle, principal lecturer in early childhood education at Cardiff Metropolitan University, is the project director of the new Diversity and Anti-Racist Professional Learning (DARPL) , launched by the Welsh Government. The free training is now available for all education professionals in Wales as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories and experiences are a mandatory part of Wales’ new curriculum rolled out in classrooms from this term.

Rachel Clarke