The Government’s Policy Document and Action Plan on tackling race and ethnic disparities

We warmly welcome Inclusive Britain for the wide range of actions it proposes to reduce racial inequalities. The Government’s commitment “to ensure that prejudice and discrimination have no place in our society” closely matches our vision here at the Anne Frank Trust of “a world free from all forms of prejudice”.

The one thing that seems missing from the plan is any explicit reference to education programmes that specifically address racist thinking and beliefs.

Here at the Anne Frank Trust, we have over 30 years of expertise in empowering young people to recognise and challenge all types of prejudice, including racism, and robust evidence of our impact on attitudes, understanding, empathy and confidence to make a difference. Our empowerment model chimes perfectly with the Government’s goal of promoting equality “by nurturing agency”. And in fact the Government does already provide some support for this kind of work – currently, for example, through Department for Education grants for ourselves and other charities to tackle hate-based bullying in schools.

But, if the exciting ambitions of Inclusive Britain are to be achieved, this crucial and highly skilled area of educational provision (which schools cannot generally be expected to deliver from their own resources) needs significant scaling-up.

The actions set out in the strategy – around such areas as criminal justice, education, employment, healthcare and social media – can succeed in creating an equal society only if individuals and communities have the critical thinking skills to identify racism in themselves and in others, knowledge about how to address racism, and the confidence to act. The practical and policy initiatives need to go hand in hand with personal understanding and commitment. And, as the Government rightly wants to take a “long-term view” to achieve systemic change, it is especially important for this empowerment of minds and hearts to engage with young people – the generation whose values will shape the future.

Investment in dedicated anti-racist education is vital to building a truly inclusive Britain.