THE education minister has backed sweeping recommendations on improving racial equality in Wales' schools.

Kirsty Williams said the proposals would help achieve the new curriculum's goal of developing pupils into "ethical and informed citizens of Wales and the world".

Better teaching resources, anti-racism training for school staff, and closer links with the community are all touted as ways to improve diversity and equality.

Professor Charlotte Williams, who chaired the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group which is behind the report, said the proposals would help schools address racial inequality "more systematically and coherently".

“Education alone cannot address the social, cultural and structural factors that sustain racial inequality," she added. "However, education can take us a long way forward in producing the ethical and informed citizens of the future."

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In its report, the group said some pupils from black, Asian and minority-ethnic (BAME) backgrounds had been "hampered by a curriculum that has failed to represent their histories" and their communities' contributions.

It found the majority of BAME-themed learning resources available to teachers focused mainly on the humanities and the arts.

The group warned a lack of resources in subject areas such as maths and science could lead to ethnic-minority themes being "marginalised".

The report also found many existing resources focused "disproportionately" on slavery, colonialism and empire. The group discouraged teaching black history solely as the history of racism, saying it could lead to BAME pupils developing a negative sense of themselves.

The group instead called for more "balance" of resources, focusing on the wider histories of ethnic-minority communities in Wales and their contributions to contemporary society.

But the group warned BAME themes should be "embedded" in school culture and policy, and should not be treated as an "add-on" or "box-ticking exercise".

Beyond the curriculum, the report laid out proposals for improving racial equality among the teaching workforce and professional environment.

The group noted a 2020 study that found many teachers lacked confidence in recognising and reporting racism.

It said fostering "racially-literate" teachers who could deliver "culturally responsive" learning was fundamental to diversifying the curriculum.

This should be addressed both within the training of student teachers and the re-training of school staff, the group said.

It proposed that a more diverse workforce could be achieved through offering bursaries to BAME teachers, like those offered to people training for priority subject areas.

Courses should prepare student teachers to teach about BAME contributions and histories by "embedding" those themes "in all the core areas of learning".

For qualified teachers and other school staff, the group recommended all schools deliver mandatory training every two years, covering the history and theory of anti-racism, common misconceptions, and how to distinguish between terms like race, culture and ethnicity.

It also proposed that governing bodies should consider having a "diversity champion" to make sure racial equality is being promoted at a leadership level.

The Curriculum for Wales will be rolled out for younger pupils from 2022. The group recommended schools should be assessed on the diversity of their teaching, by Estyn inspectors, within three years of the new curriculum going live.

"Our new curriculum can only be enriched by revealing the diversity of perspectives and contributions made by the ethnic minority communities to the development of Wales across its history and in the present," the education minister said.

Ms Williams also confirmed £500,000 funding to support the implementation of the group's recommendations.

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