Racist bullying

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What is racist bullying?
Racist bullying refers to a range of hurtful behaviours, both physical and psychological, that make a person or a group feel unwelcome, marginalised, excluded, powerless or worthless because of their colour, ethnicity, culture, faith community, national origin or national status.”
While both should be vigorously addressed, we can distinguish between racist incidents and racist bullying. All racist incidents and racist bullying should be reported to the local authority if they collect this information.

  • Schools need to be at the heart of tolerant and diverse communities, racism and bullying should have no place.
  • Schools have a duty to promote race equality.
  • Racist bullying can escalate to hate crime
  • Racist bullying can destabilise the neighbourhood.


We have recently marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the 20th anniversary of Srebrenica which illustrate where hatred can eventually lead. In the wake of Paris 2015, Boko Haram and IS atrocities, it has never been more urgent to find a way to value and respect one another.


Key Principles :-
1. Acknowledge that racism exists in wider society and can lead to racist bullying in school
2. Let pupils know where you stand
3. Listen to children and young people
4. Involve them in solutions
5. Implement strategies for prevention and intervention
6. Enlist parents to support the values the school/group/service upholds

Just as in all other types of bullying, we look at both prevention and intervening or responding, if and when incidents occur.

There are two main strands of prevention:

Know the true picture – Good data from your anonymous surveys will reveal the true picture among your children and young people. Discussion, monitoring and review will help develop reflective practice. Include the perceptions and involvement of children and young people, parents and staff.
Develop an ethos of equality – where difference is celebrated. Embed the work into the curriculum or the activities of your group or club.

Curriculum themes

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Within the curriculumthere are six main themes:
Shared humanity, similarity, sameness and universality
Difference and diversity: contrasting stories and interpretations.
Interdependence: borrowing, mingling and mutual influence

Excellence everywhere
Identity and belonging
Race, ethnicity and justice
(Image: Persona Dolls)

Responding to incidents of Racist Bullying
Accept the pupil’s account of an incident and confirm it was right for the pupil to report it.
Ask the pupil how they want the incident dealt with, whether they would like their parents to be informed and involved.
Stress it is not the victim who is the cause of the bullying.
Those responsible need to be clear that what they have done is wrong, within the framework of the school’s behaviour policy and the sanctions for bullying in policy.
They also need to be helped to understand their own behaviour to facilitate change.
The wider group within the class/group/year may be drawn in to work to challenge stereotypes and prejudice.

New forms of racism

Post Brexit Racism
A sharp rise in police figures for hate crime along with the fact that we find racist bullying the most difficult form of bullying to reduce effectively, suggests it is a good time to look again at practice. To help you we have collated a range of resources for leadership, class activities, law and policy.

For planning and refreshing your strategy

  1. list of resources to explore prejudice, discrimination, racism and hate crime. We put this together as reports came in of a rise in racist incidents after the Brexit referendum (June 2016).
  2. Time to refresh strategy:advice for schools on reviewing your practice.
  3. PSED updatefor schools – a brief note on the Public Sector Equality Duty for schools.
  4. Equality Act Graphic with thanks to Robin Richardson. This summary guide helps you to remember the key points of the Equality Act that apply to schools.
  5. Read about the Home Office Action Plan 
  6. Practitioners’ Guide to responding to BME racist incidents from East Sussex  BME tookit

Activities with students

  1. Exploring the long journey towards equality  this resource links Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela on the long march towards equality for Black people. This contains history links and ideas for activities with students.
  2. Activities for groups of students: Is this word OK? Adapt for use with upper Key stage 2 and KS3 and use I am typical for Key stage 4; other variations on this theme: Thankfully we’re all different for young children.
  3. Stand Up to Hatred More resources to address racism in schools, compiled in response to several terrorist attacks and world events.
  4. Here is a link to an excellent UNHCR resource about people who were once refugees and who went on to make an unparalleled contribution to the world.   This is a refugee   
  5. From NSPCC/ChildLine:  Faith and religious bullyingand Racial bullying. plus advice on discrimination and equal opportunities. A new webpage offers ways to address worries about the world among your students.
  6. NSPCC/ChildLine offer pages about world issues that may be worrying your students: https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/your-feelings/anxiety-stress-panic/worries-about-the-world/.

Messages from students

Other new forms of racism.
Many recent newcomers to our country experience different forms of discrimination due to race, religion or culture. It can be hard to detect some forms of new prejudice and hatreds that we are not used to seeing. This might be between two newly arrived cultures and emanate from other parts of the world. It may reflect the war zones from which some have fled. The old ideas of racism that we thought we knew and understood, need to be expanded and we should be sensitive to new patterns.

A safe place
A Safe Place
is an education pack from Show Racism The Red Card to address racism towards asylum seekers, free to download: A Safe Place


Is the victim safe? (Retaliation is a risk)
Has the bully’s behaviour changed?
Has the group learned from this incident?
Has prejudice been challenged?

Be aware –
Are some ethnic groups more vulnerable in your area? Local populaton patterns can lead to local discrimination of certain minority groups although this may not occur elsewhere.
Are some ethnic groups more prevalent among your pupils with statements of need, or those in poverty?
Are current affairs or the media fuelling hatreds and feuds?
Are gangs operating in your area and setting groups against one another?
Are there territorial gangs ‘owning’ some of your local neighbourhood?

If you know about situations such as those described above – tackle them in school via assemblies, discussion groups, drama, film and curriculum as well as by inviting appropriate visitors to come in and talk to pupils.

Resources and ideas

Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014 who rose from poverty, segregation and violence to become a world force on stage, screen and print, has died …Her poem ‘Still I rise’ with video links and image gallery, plus discussion prompts, can play a part in challenging racism, sexism and other prejudiced views. The powerful message of resilience has resonance for Anti-Bullying work of all kinds.
 Text and ideas for discussion  in groups or classrooms.
 Video here in which Dr Angelou reads this poem.
Here she sings the song from which she took her title ‘I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now’

Exploring the road to equality
Lesson Plan for Key stage 3

MLK rally

I have a dream!
‘ Martin Luther King Jnr – 50 years on: one of the most inspiring moments of the 20th century.
esources and discussions about his speech at the Lincoln Memorial, how his dream can be viewed today, and questions for classroom discussion [Key stage3] with numerous links including his Nobel prize speech. Photo russellmoore.com
Download pdf 
I have a dream! ‘ Martin Luther King Jnr – 50 years on: one of the most inspiring moments of the 20th century.

esources and discussions about his speech at the Lincoln Memorial, how his dream can be viewed today, and questions for classroom discussion [Key stage3] with numerous links including his Nobel prize speech. Photo russellmoore.com
Download pdf

Think Again!
is a free resource written for Kick it Out and the NUT by Berenice Miles.
To download this free pack, with video clips and lesson plans, follow this link
‘Like no other’ is a poster developed after terror attacks in Manchester and London Bridge, followed by a hate crime incident in Finsbury Park  in mid 2017. It invites a discussion on liking people and not ‘othering’ any person or group. It links to resources on this page and others by Educate against Hate.