Anti-racist education: Selected reading

Research Reviews
Author: Hannah Tyreman

A collection of articles, blogs, tools and resources around anti-racist education


Recent events have highlighted a long since established need for educators to examine their commitment to anti-racist education. This reading list gathers together resources, links and research to support educators with this learning journey. Whilst some of the articles and resources linked have been written or produced specifically in response to recent events, some are more general.

Although anti-racism as a term is used in a range of ways, it is used here simply according to its dictionary definition – “the policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance” – and as such, this reading list includes a range of areas which teachers may wish to consider.

The views within linked articles and resources do not necessarily represent those of the Chartered College, and we are not responsible for the content of any external links. Some of them will present opposing views, or views which you do not agree with, but should support you in thinking about these areas.

This list is just a starting point; it is not comprehensive and will be regularly updated with new links, so suggestions of other resources to add are very welcome.

This is a reading list but you may like to also explore this collection of podcasts and videos collated and regularly updated by the BAMEed Network.

Books to read

Educator and coach, Angela Browne recommends that the starting place for any educator looking to actively practise anti-racism is to learn first of all: engaging with narratives from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic educators; listening not what’s true for you but true for others. Books can be a useful source of learning that leads to individual reflection. You may also wish to explore collective reflection through a reading group for you and colleagues.

The links below are typically to Hive, except where they did not have any editions / formats in stock at the time of writing.

Brit(ish): On race, identity and belonging, Afua Hirsch

Diversify, June Sarpong

How to be an antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

It’s Not About the Burqa, Mariam Khan

Natives: Race and class in the ruins of the empire, Akala

Pedagogy of the oppressed, Paulo Freire

Teaching to transgress, Bell Hooks

The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain, Damian Le Bas

White privilege: The myth of a post-racial society, Kalwant Bhopal

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race, Renni Eddo-Lodge

You Wouldn’t Understand: White Teachers in Multiethnic Classrooms, Sarah Pearce

A collection of over 100 books collated by the BAMEed Network

This selection of books has recently been made freely available for educators to download.

Decolonising the curriculum

‘Curriculum is all about power. Decisions about what knowledge to teach are an exercise of power and therefore a weighty ethical responsibility. What we choose to teach confers or denies power. To say that pupils should learn ‘the best that has been thought and said’ is never adequate. Start the conversation, and questions abound: ‘Whose knowledge?’; ‘Who decides on “best”?’. This quote is from an Impact article written by Christine Counsell on Taking Curriculum Seriously.

This report written by Dr Jason Arday for The Black Curriculum team, draws on other key research to explore how the current History National Curriculum systematically omits the contribution of Black British history in favour of a dominant White, Eurocentric curriculum that fails to reflect our multi ethnic and broadly diverse society.

This article, from The Conversation, explores how British Empire is being whitewashed by the school curriculum and this article from University College London Institute of Education considers how school history might help bring understanding and hope.

These talks from Aisha Thomas and Melz Owusu can help educators to understand the need for a decolonisation of the curriculum.

This toolkit, created for Higher Education institutions, provides some useful reflective questions on decolonising the curriculum that colleagues can ask and some practical steps that can follow this reflection. This comes from SOAS University, London and they have a site to learn more about their work. These 7 actions from the Runnymede Trust might provide a starting point for any educator looking to address the diversity of the curriculum.

This article, written for the Chartered College’s Early Career Hub, can be a starting point for considering decolonising the curriculum and this case study from Michelle Mangal explores what this might look like in practice.

This reflection from Mr Finch is a reflective account of the journey towards understanding the need for anti-racism to be practised through the curriculum and this reflection from Nick Dennis demonstrates what an examination of a curriculum might begin to result in. If you’re looking to learn more from teachers’ practice and experiences, Decolonise the curriculum is a blog space from Pran Patel where he and other educators reflect on the approaches and practices of examining curricula. This example is from Andrew Milne about a PE curriculum, and this example is from Jimmy Rotherham about music.

This article describes how educators in the US are coming together in the current context to address racial inequities, saying ‘we have to think about the ways in which we are recreating the systems and structures that have resulted in racial inequities in in-person education, but now in an online environment. And actually exacerbating them.’

Assessment Bias

Research suggests that teacher assessment can disadvantage certain groups of students. This blog from Daisy Christodoulou explores some of the reasons teacher assessment is biased; this blog from Pran Patel summarises key research around bias in teacher assessment; and this Tes article by Nuzhat Uthmani looks at the importance of confronting bias in assessment of BAME students, thinking particularly about the current context with exam cancellations.

Diverse children’s books

In July 2018 CLPE published Reflecting Realities, the first UK study looking at diversity in children’s literature. This report found that only 4% of the children’s books published in 2017 featured BAME characters and only 1% of the children’s books published in the UK in 2017 had a BAME main character. You can explore this report in full here. In 2019, their report revealed that there was an increase in books featuring a BAME character from 4% in 2017 to 7% in 2018 and an increase in BAME protagonists from 1% in 2017 to 4% in 2018. You can read this report here.

There are a range of publishers and booksellers dedicated to publishing books for children that will promote inclusion and. These include: Booklove: Bookshop, Knights of media, Letterbox Library, Roundtable books and Tiny Owl.

The Twitter account, Wider Reads, is committed to reflecting realities and shares recommendations of children’s books that you should know about, but might not, every fortnight.

This poster was created by the BAMEed Network as a snapshot of books available for children that may diversify your collection. This list was created by Darren Chetty and Karen Sands O’Connor as part of a column written for Books for Keeps, Beyond the Secret Garden.

Leadership and governance

This report, Diversity Matters, from McKinsey and Co. in 2015 looked at the relationship between the level of diversity (defined as a greater share of women and a more mixed ethnic/racial composition in the leadership of large companies) and company financial performance (measured as average EBIT 2010–2013) and provides some interesting insights to any leader working to diversify their organisation. This article from Harvard Business Review explores why so many organisations stay white.

This article specifically explores how schools might go about attract and retain Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic educators. The approaches were used in Bristol but are potentially applicable in other contexts.

This document from Deloitte explores some of the practical steps that can be taken by organisations seeking to diversify their boards, this article in Harvard Business Review considers when and why diversity improves a board’s performance and this blog from Penny Rabiger considers the role of bias in achieving diverse representation.

Planning anti-racist work is a Twitter thread from Dr Erin Thomas to help organisations move from performative action to sustainable activism.

This guidance and risk assessment was produced by the BAMEed Network for school leaders to use to keep their BAME colleagues safe during COVD-19.

Teaching resources and approaches

Teaching to young children about racism can be challenging and these articles offer some guidance, advice and approaches:

Useful organisations, individuals and research publications

A collection of organisations working towards equity collated by the BAMEed Network as well as regional networks for educators around the UK

BERA – race, ethnicity and education provide a forum for researchers of ‘race’, ethnicity and education, host seminars, publish papers and support and facilitate the development and quality of research in relation to these issues.

The Institute of Race Relations publishes a quarterly journal Race & Class, free briefing papers on issues of racism in Europe and the UK and occasional books, pamphlets and reports.

Race, Ethnicity and Education is the leading peer-reviewed journal on racism and race inequality in education.

Runnymede is the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank. They generate intelligence to challenge race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement. You can read their publications here.

The Traveller Movement is a leading national charity committed to the fulfilment of human rights for ethnic minority Gypsy Roma and Traveller people. The site hosts a range of publications including, a good practice guide to improving outcomes for gypsy, roma and traveller children in education.

Whiteness and Education is a publication that presents critical discussions of White racism, White identity, privilege, power and intersectionality.

Whiteness and privilege

It can feel uncomfortable and challenging to move beyond inherent bias and move towards an understanding of privilege. This resource, created by teacher, Sara Warsaw, can help individuals to reflect for themselves.

This article, written by Francis Kendall, is a good starting point for anyone looking to understand what white privilege is. This guide from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Research in Race and Education explores Critical Race Theory and can help with understanding of white privilege. This article from Teaching Tolerance, acknowledges that recognising white privilege begins with truly understanding the term itself and this article, written by Pran Patel for Ambition Institute shares how to use your privilege for good.

This Forbes article can help educators move beyond white guilt and understand why ‘all lives matter’ is so problematic.

This guide from ASCD provides approaches and further learning for how to be an anti-racist educator. This article from Peggy McIntosh, White privilege: unpacking the invisible knapsack, provides essential advice for white educators. This is one resource as part of a site filled with racial equity tools.

This research paper written by Shirley Anne Tate and Damien Page at Leeds Beckett University explores whiteliness and institutional racism.

Understanding racism is an ongoing journey for white people who do not experience it as part of their daily existence. In this blog, Iesha Small expresses the trauma generated by racism.

This reflection from Tom Sherrington on anti-racism and allyship. Privilege and paralysis is a reflective piece typical of the start of a white educators journey when learning about racism. It shouldn’t be the end and should result in continued action. Muna Abdi lists a series of actions for educators looking to be a white ally and this collection of resources could be used with colleagues to learn and talk about race and racism.