Teaching union calls for action to tackle Islamophobia in Scottish schools


One of Britain’s major teaching unions is calling for greater education and training for pupils and school staff to raise awareness of and tackle Islamophobia within Scotland’s schools.

The NASUWT is calling for the Scottish Government to act on the findings of the first public enquiry into Islamophobia, released last year, which found that there has been an intensification of Islamophobia in schools.

18% of those surveyed for the inquiry reported experiencing Islamophobia in school, with around three-quarters agreeing that Islamophobia has an impact on the educational outcomes of Muslims.

On Saturday, NASUWT members at the Union’s Scotland Annual Conference called for an understanding of Islamophobia and its impacts to be integrated into the curriculum and for training for all school staff on tackling Islamophobia and promoting equality.

Action to increase the ethnic and religious diversity of the teaching profession in Scotland is also needed, said the NASUWT.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said: “The Inquiry highlighted how recognition of and action to address Islamophobia in Scottish society has been very limited to date. The fact that 78% of Muslims who responded to the Inquiry felt that Islamophobia is getting worse in Scotland highlights the key role that education can and must play in addressing prejudice and promoting understanding.

“Including an understanding of Islamophobia in the school curriculum, accompanied by training for all school staff, would help to counter ignorance, intolerance and hatred and help ensure that all young people, whatever their faith or ethnic background, feel safe, welcomed and valued in our schools.

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“Education is a building block for the future and is critical in fostering positive attitudes amongst the younger generation in which Muslims feel accepted as part of Scottish society and where Islamophobia has no place.”

And Mike Corbett, NASUWT Scotland National Official, said: “Alongside educating young people about Islamophobia, greater action is also needed to ensure the teaching profession in Scotland is more diverse and that no one feels excluded from pursuing a career in teaching due to their faith or ethnicity.

“Breaking down the barriers that still exist to a diverse and representative teaching profession must go hand in hand with action on the curriculum so that Islamophobia is being challenged at every level of our education system. The work of the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme has made an encouraging start in this regard, but can still be built upon to support ethnic and faith diversity in the teaching profession.”

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