Bristol news Black children at Bristol schools speak of 'heartbreaking' racism PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - The study by UWE is the first of its kind in Britain
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Black children in Bristol’s primary schools feel ‘scared, shamed, powerless and frustrated’ when they experience racism, a groundbreaking new report has found. The ongoing research from the University of the West of England (UWE) highlighted how the mental health of children is badly affected by experiencing racism - whether that’s first-hand abuse and discrimination, or hearing about incidents of racism. The research, the first of its kind ever undertaken in this country, involved a study funded by mental health research network Emerging Minds, and researchers setting up study groups that initially heard from 80 children in Year 6 across three primary schools in Bristol. Read more: Bristol school leader Aisha Thomas' new guide for teachers to tackle racism The 80 children took part in a bespoke arts-based workshop, followed by focus groups with more than 40 children and interviews with their teachers. UWE researchers began the study to respond to calls from the Young And Black campaign to proactively start listening to the voices of young people - and the study’s initial conclusion is that there is an ‘urgent need for teachers to become more aware of young children’s experiences of racism and the impact it has on their mental health and wellbeing. The lead researcher is associate professor Dr Verity Jones. She said young black children are much more affected by the issue than many teachers might realise. “Physical attacks, name calling, body shaming, and being ignored or identified negatively because of the colour of their skin are just a few of the experiences shared by these young children,” she said. “They reported feeling a host of emotions including being scared, frightened, shamed, powerless and frustrated.” The research found that it’s not just the direct experiences of racism that badly affects the children - hearing about cases in the wider world does too. “The research has highlighted that many of these young children are deeply affected by institutional racism as depicted by the media,” said a spokesperson for the study. “This includes cases of police brutality - children spoke of the death of George Floyd, the worldwide protests that followed and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Children spoke of racial attacks in football, incidents relating to refugees, and terrorist attacks,” she added. Earlier this year, a huge review into the Criminal Justice System in Bristol and the surrounding area, by Desmond Brown, found widespread disproportionality in the experiences and outcomes of young black people, compared to young white people. Read More Related Articles 'Alarming disproportionality' in way police and courts deal with black and Asian people Read More Related Articles Stop and search disparity compounds distrust in police in black communities And despite being aged just ten or 11 years old, the children in Bristol had experiences of other issues, like the police ‘stop and search’. “Children reflected on members of their family being stopped and searched,” the study found. “Many were angry at what they had seen and heard, felt unsafe and sad. As one 10-year-old said ‘discrimination can break your heart’.” The researchers also talked through how young black children would cope with experiences or fears of racism.
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. Taking exercise helped, having time to play games and watch videos allowed children to switch off from the world, and talking to parents and friends eased the load, or even pets who would listen without judging,” the study said. “At school, many children said that talking to someone with the same skin colour about racist incidents was preferred as they will ‘automatically understand’. However, the Runnymede report noted that black staff are often only present in schools as teaching assistants, personal assistants or dinner-time staff, and in behavioural management and support roles. This in direct contrast to the 93 per cent of headteachers identifying as white British. As such, teachers can’t share in lived experience. So, whilst work is underway to recruit a more diverse workforce teachers need greater racial literacy,” the study added.
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Dr Verity Jones said hearing from young black children provided powerful evidence that much more needed to be done. “The next step of the project will be to develop guidance for student teachers in order to develop racial literacy in schools; raising awareness and providing strategies for talking about and supporting children in classrooms regarding racism and how it is impacting the wellbeing and mental health of young people. 'Shaming detail' “There is a power to the experiences that have been collected. It’s not about individual children getting bullied, but something systemic being reflected in these experiences we are hearing. The children talked in shaming detail about what is happening to them – it becomes clear that this is not the fault of the children, it’s the fault of the society we’re in,” she said. The study also raised the question of what schools need to do to tackle the issue of racism. Recent changes to Government guidelines in February ordered teachers to tackle the issue of racism as an ethical rather than political question.
Aisha Thomas is a former assistant principal of an inner-city secondary school in Bristol and the author of 'Becoming an anti-racist educator'
(Image: Aisha Thomas/Representation Matters)
“There is an urgent need for schools to develop greater racial literacy, to recognise that children’s lived experiences are conditioned and textured by ethnicity,” said Dr Jones. “We hope that the toolkit we produce – informed and reviewed by children - will begin to support and signpost schools and teacher training organisations in filling this gap,” she added. Some in Bristol are already working on just that. Last month, Bristolian senior teacher Aisha Thomas released a book called 'Becoming an anti-racist educator', aimed at providing teachers across the city with the tools to tackle racism head-on. Read next: Campaign to turn new restaurant site into slavery museum instead Mayor cautious over idea of Bristol slavery museum or memorial Abolition Shed museum won't happen as sale for pizza bar agreed Want our best stories with fewer ads and alerts when the biggest news stories drop? Download our app on iPhone or Android.
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