Liverpool school leaders are ‘shying away’ from tackling institutional racism, according to education report

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A report claims all of the city’s schools have ‘aspects of institutional racism’ and a new equalities officer will be appointed in September.

Every school in Liverpool “has aspects of institutional racism” and leaders are “shying away” from the problem.

That was the view taken by Cllr Tom Logan, Liverpool City Council member for education and skills, in a report to the the education and skills select committee.

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“This should be an uncontroversial statement, as all of our schools have majority white leadership and always have,” Mr Logan added.

A new race equalities officer is to be appointed next month, when all schools will be asked to report racist incidents to the local authority.

The report also said that advice in 2012 from the UK Government to schools that they were not obliged to report incidents of racism made it difficult for Liverpool Council to “understand the prevalence and tackle the issue” owing to “not having reliable data”.

What the report said on racism in schools

Cllr Logan’s report to the committee said the city’s education sector needed to “move forward” and support schools on a journey to change. It said: “Every school in this city, to differing extents, has aspects of institutional racism.

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“We still have school leaders shying away from accepting they have a problem.

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“In order to begin addressing this, and the symptomatic issues affecting children and parents, we need to move forward as an education community, supporting schools on a journey to change.” In a bid to action this, Cllr Logan said in his report a meeting was held to determine what can happen and Liverpool Council’s role.

He wrote: “There was a clear consensus that Liverpool Council should have a coordinating role in this journey. With an emphasis of sharing best practice (as there is some excellent work happening across the city) and data collection and presentation.”

What happens next?

A race equalities officer in education post has subsequently been made with the individual to take up the role next month as the council responds to the city’s race equalities taskforce.

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Among the responsibilities of this role will be working with schools to increase black teacher representation.

It was also said that should a crime be committed in a school related to racism, it would be reported to police, but Liverpool Council cannot determine a school’s sanction policy.

“This is for the governing body of each school,” the response from the committee said.

Cllr Logan’s report said the taskforce “needs full attention and commitment and cannot just be a ‘bolt on’ to current structures and systems” as more than a third of its recommendations related to the local authority.

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