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Photo. A girl is taking a book from a bookshelf in a library. She is wearing a pink hooded top and wearing a rucksack.

News: New funding for Scottish school libraries

Posted 11 Jan, 2023 by Jennifer Drummond

School libraries across Scotland have been awarded funding from the School Library Improvement Fund (SLIF) for projects focusing on anti-racism, diversity and racial equality.

The Fund, administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) was launched by the Scottish Government in 2017.

Available to all state run Scottish nursery, primary and secondary schools the fund supports creative and innovative projects within the school library sector.

In 2022-23 funding totalling £200,000 is being awarded to 18 initiatives in 10 local authorities.

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of the Scottish Library and Information Council, said:

“School libraries play a valuable role in education and learning and ensuring every young person has the chance to fulfil their full potential. Projects funded through prigrammes like SLIF help to improve and expand the services school libraries can provide, so it’s great to see such strong applications coming in from schools eager to develop these resources.

“We are particularly proud to award support to those advocating for anti-racism and anti-discrimination through this year’s Fund and we can’t wait to see these initiatives come to fruition.”

Commenting on the awards this year, Education Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville also praised the focus on anti-racism and the role of school libraries in engaging with young people on the importance of belonging, inclusion and social justice.

Click here for a full list of all the schools and projects awarded funding

A middle eastern woman is helping her son with his school work in their living room at home.

News: Report reveals ongoing lack of diversity in teaching profession

Posted 31 May, 2022 by Jennifer Drummond

The second annual data report into diversity in the teaching profession has revealed that minority ethnic teachers remain significantly under-represented in Scottish schools.

Published in May, the Scottish Government report aims to gather and share data relating to the diversity of the teaching profession in order to inform and evaluate future work.

It notes a small increase in the number of ethnic minority teachers over time, highlighting an increase across the whole profession from 1.4% at the time of the original report, to the current 1.8% of the workforce.

The data also revealed:

  • a higher proportion of new teachers coming into the profession from minority ethnic backgrounds, compared to the overall teaching population. In 2021, 3.8% of secondary probationary teachers and 1.9% of primary probationary teachers came from ethnic minority backgrounds.
  • ethnic minority groups are more strongly represented in the secondary teaching sector (2.2% of the workforce) than in the primary sector (1.3% of the workforce).

The report acknowledges these as small increases across the teaching workforce against a backdrop of persistent under-representation of minority ethnic teachers in Scotland’s schools as a whole.

It also identified a lower proportion of ethnic minority probationers finding employment after their probationary year (16%) compared to the overall probationer population (23%).

Ambitious targets

The activity to monitor representation in schools is in direct response to the Teaching in a Diverse Scotland report published in 2018 by Professor Rowena Arshad CBE and the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group.

At the time of the original report, 1.4% of the teaching workforce came from a minority ethnic background. The Scottish Government has committed to improving representation, accepting the recommendation that by 2030, the number of minority ethnic teachers in Scotland should be at least 4% to be commensurate with the Scottish minority ethnic population as reported in the 2011 census.

Committed to improvement

Responding to the latest data set, the Scottish Government has restated its commitment to improving representation, noting achievement of the targets set will require a “significant shift” from the current position.

The government has suggested in order to meet the original targets, approximately 8-10% of all new teachers will need to come from a minority ethnic group. This is a significant increase from the 3% of probationers from an ethnic minority background recorded in 2021.

A new subgroup, Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce, will continue to focus on how to support, retain and promote existing minority ethnic staff as well as increase the number of trainees undertaking and completing Initial Teacher Education (ITE).

Click here to access the full report

Why our race equality pledge should challenge ourselves – and others

30 September 2021

Marking publication of our race equality statement, Amy Woodhouse says that working to become a more inclusive, equalities-focused organisation is not only the right thing to do – it means our working lives can be so much better

This week we’re publicly sharing Children in Scotland’s racial equality statement and our five pledges to strengthen our organisational commitment to racial equality and inclusion.

We’ve been working on this statement internally for quite a while. There is no doubt that the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 set us an important and necessary challenge to look at our organisational culture, structure, practices and approaches with a race equality lens and ask ourselves some tough questions.

We have had Challenging Inequalities as one of our organisational priorities for more than four years. But had we done enough to identify and remove the inequalities that exist within our own organisation with regards to race? The answer was most definitely no.

We’ve been able to learn the value of internal reflection and change from our experiences of working to improve our organisational culture and practice in relation to other equalities. I think the work we did to achieve our LGBT Youth Scotland Charter Silver Award (click here to find out more) was a particular motivator for further equalities work.

Our experience of that has shown us that working to become a more inclusive, equalities-focused organisation is not only right thing to do but also a really good thing for us all – it makes our work and our working lives so much better.

So last July our internal Equalities & Diversity (Ethnic Minorities) Working Group was formed, involving representatives from across the whole organisation. We drew on advice and guidance from CEMVO, who work to build the capacity and sustainability of the ethnic minority voluntary sector. They emphasised a few of things that we should work on from the get-go: building commitment at a strategic level, developing an action plan and setting our baseline measures.

Our statement was developed on the back of an existing Equality, Diversity and Human Rights policy, and in consultation with our staff, Board and our young people's advisory group Changing our World. We identified five pledges which relate to organisational policies and procedures, representation and recruitment, addressing barriers to accessing our services and opportunities, training and development for our team, learning from others and sharing our learning.

The statement and pledges were approved by our Board of Directors earlier this year, building in that strategic commitment. We’ve published it this week as part of our belief in transparency and sharing our learning with others.

Work on each of the pledges is underway. Bearing in mind CEMVO’s advice, we’ve identified what the baseline measures should be for each pledge and have set up systems to collect data that will help us to measure progress. Some things are fairly easy to address – more routine equal opportunities monitoring across the organisation, for example. Some are more complex, focusing on organisational culture, and will take time to embed.

It can feel at times like the pace of change and development is slow. We have an understanding of where we want to get to, but don’t feel like we’re there yet. And that can be frustrating. However, I think we can take heart from an approach that aims to build race equality and inclusion into the bones of the organisation. Progress is vital, but it has to be meaningful and lasting.

If we are to continue to have a focus on challenging inequalities at Children in Scotland, it’s absolutely essential to view this work as much about an internal process as it is a part of our external influencing work. Indeed we can’t legitimately challenge others to improve their practice and decision-making if we don’t do the work to challenge and improve ourselves.

With special thanks to Vicky Wan, our ex-colleague, who did so much to steer this work forward.

Click here to read our race equality statement

Race equality statement

Our statement and pledge sets out what we will do to improve standards and awareness

Click here to read

"Taking a step forwards in standards and awareness"

News: CEO Jude Turbyne comments on the launch of our race equality statement

Click here to read

On diversity and the cycle of racism

Our recent podcast explored the issue through the lens of a project with GTCS and Intercultural Youth Scotland

Click here for more

Race equality statement marks bolder approach to addressing equality and diversity

28 September 2021

Children in Scotland today publishes its race equality statement, following a year’s work examining how our commitments and standards relating to equality and diversity could be strengthened.

The project work was spurred by the murder of George Floyd and issues raised by the Black Lives Matters movement in 2020.

While focusing particularly on what we can do to improve representation and fairness for ethnic minorities, the work is embedded in our broader beliefs about the importance of realising equality for children, young people and families in Scotland.

The statement makes clear our commitment to creating a culture in which equality, diversity and human rights are actively promoted, and rearticulates that we have zero tolerance of discrimination of any kind.

As part of this work we are also publishing a pledge of actions to strengthen our specific commitment to racial equality and inclusion.

Measures will be introduced internally to track how we are performing against equality and diversity baselines.

These will focus on areas including ethnic minority representation in our staff group and board; suitable training made available for staff; and more diversity in our choice of images and the contributors we commission for our communications work.

Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive Judith Turbyne said:

“Publication of our race equality statement and pledge today is an important step in building awareness and taking a much more proactive approach to addressing equality and diversity issues at Children in Scotland.

“In addition to what is currently required by legislation, we are dedicated to going further by taking positive measures to promote equality, diversity and human rights.

“I want to emphasise that this is ongoing work for us and that we take it very seriously. It is not a ‘one-off’ or a token gesture.

“We’re also aware of the need to be honest about our progress and our weaknesses in this vital area.

“We want to develop into a more diverse organisation and to do this we need to take forward our action plan and learn from the experiences and advice of experts partners in order to change.

“Recent project work with Intercultural Youth Scotland (click here to visit), and guidance from CEMVO (click here to visit) about the development of our statement, has been enlightening and encouraging, whilst demonstrating how much more we need to do.

“As the representative organisation for the children’s sector we will be seeking a wider conversation with our members about how we can come together to improve equality and diversity in a way that benefits all children in Scotland.”

We are sharing our race equality statement and summary of our equality and diversity work as part of National Inclusion Week.

Click here to read our race equality statement

Click here for information on National Inclusion Week

Race equality statement

Our statement and pledge sets out what we will do to improve standards and awareness

Click here to read

Our strategic aims

We're committed to challenging inequality and championing participation

Click here for more

On diversity and the cycle of racism

Our recent podcast explored the issue through the lens of a project with GTCS and Intercultural Youth Scotland

Click here for more

National Inclusion Week

Bringing organisations together to celebrate, share and inspire inclusion practices

Click here for more
Black and white headshot of a woman with long black hair and sunglasses on her head. She is smiling directly at the camera

Comment: The diversity of our pupils must be celebrated

Posted on 25 August 2021 by Jennifer Drummond

Assets which celebrate multiculturalism must be included in the framework of Scottish education and delivered in the classroom, says teacher Nuzhat Uthmani (pictured)

Black Lives Matter has motivated thousands of people to communicate with the Scottish Government about the need to address racism in our schools. Specifically, young people expressed their dismay at having no role models in schools, adults who shared their lived experiences and a curriculum in which they never saw themselves reflected.

As an ethnic minority child born in the 1980s in Britain, I share all of those feelings.

My educational experience was largely a happy one, in which I remember many fun learning experiences and teachers fondly. However, there was always a clash of identity; my school identity verses my cultural identity. In school, we rarely read stories that included characters that looked like me or written by authors with a similar sounding name. I quickly learned to use western names in my own imaginative stories because that was just the done thing.

I was embarrassed to be seen in my cultural clothes out in the shops, because people thought they were weird and too bright. As a teenager I stopped wearing henna for Eid because my white peers thought I had a strange disease on my hands.

Today these lived experiences inform what being a teacher means to me in the 21st century. I understand how my pupils from diverse backgrounds feel about being a minority, often feeling like their culture and heritage is second best.  My approach as a teacher is to bring an acceptance of multiculturalism and a knowledge of alternative history to my lessons.

Racism is often expressed towards people who are seen to be different from the majority. I would argue, we must view these differences as assets. Having differences in our class and school communities is an opportunity to enrich and include wider perspectives to share and learn from.

Here are a few handy tips for asset building in your classroom:


“I don’t see colour” is a phrase that is supposed to somehow highlight that you are not racist. But, for too long, not ‘seeing colour’ has meant not valuing that pupils in your care have other experiences and identities that are important to them.

What you can do: Consider the resources you have in class, such as dolls or picture books. Use posters and images of people of colour, not just when talking about culture but also when talking about maths, science and social subjects. Can your pupils draw pictures of themselves and their families in colours that accurately represent them? Skin tone crayons are now easily available. Think about incorporating the successful stories of people of colour who have contributed to our local communities, nationally and internationally. We must normalise the representation of people of colour.


Britain is often described as a Christian country. Really? In the last census in 2011, almost 40% of UK residents stated they were not of the Christian faith.  This was an increase of over 10% from the previous 10 year period and undoubtedly will increase further in the next census in 2022.  So why the domination of one faith over others?

What you can do:  First of all, we must ensure that we are providing a curriculum that equally values the variety of faiths in our society as well as those who are not religious. It is miserable to be made to feel that your values are not as worthy as someone else’s.  Also, religious beliefs, artefacts and values do not have to be confined to the teaching of religious studies. Consider using religious buildings from around the world when teaching Maths or STEM . Use images of influential religious leaders around the world and consider religious artwork to enrich art and design tasks.


“We are British, we should teach British values”.  This statement is not reflective of the reality of the world we live in and completely denies the contribution of so many countries and people around the world for what Britain is today.

What you can do: Discussions around culture should be held in a way that sees all cultures as equally valuable. We must be careful not to pigeonhole minority cultures and only speak about them in cultural or religious contexts. For example, when teaching about healthy eating or the food plate, consider using foods from around the world so they are relevant to the meals learners in your class eat at home. Showcase languages that are written in alternative scripts such as Arabic or Mandarin in art and literacy lessons. Encourage learners from different backgrounds to wear traditional cultural dress if they so wish, and maybe consider not holding events such as Christmas Jumper Day for pupils who do not celebrate Christmas.


“Immigration is ruining our society”. Views such as this harm our society and should be critically analysed and challenged in our classrooms.

What you can do:  It is important to emphasise that humans have migrated around the world for centuries. Every community has been built with the contribution of those that settled there. In my classroom you will find a scratch off world map. At the start of the year, we scratch off all the countries that our families are linked to either through immigration or relatives who live there. Throughout the year we scratch off the countries of the people we learn about in our lessons to further emphasise the importance of global communities and how they link to the lives we live here in Scotland.

There is no suggestion that in order to diversify our schools and curriculum, traditional topics need to be scrapped.  But what we need is a mindshift to better understand the needs of our learners and their families, and a school curriculum and classroom that meets those needs.

Nuzhat Uthmani is a primary teacher in Glasgow. She is also the founder of Global Citizenship Education Scotland Practitioners Network. Click here to visit the website

Young people to lead new diversity in education participatory project

16 October 2020

Children in Scotland is bringing together a group of children and young people to get involved in a new participatory project focusing on diversity in Scottish education, with a view to supporting greater diversity in the teaching profession.

Commissioned by the professional regulatory body for education professionals in Scotland, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland) (click to visit), the project will engage with a group of eight to 18-year-olds from across Scotland and from a range of cultural backgrounds, to hear their views and experiences of diversity in Scottish education.

Children and young people will be a key catalyst of change, addressing the challenges they and adults experience around ethnic diversity.

Their voices will inform recommendations that will support teachers to embed equality and recognition of diversity as a positive factor in their everyday teaching lives and make sure education in Scotland supports and includes all.

Elaine Kerridge, Children in Scotland's Policy Manager (Participation & Engagement), who is managing the project, said: "It is so important we hear from more children and young people about diversity at school – as they are the ones there every day. We can’t wait to support them in sharing their thoughts, experiences and insights on what can make schools and teaching more inclusive."

Elaine will be working alongside Children in Scotland Associates Katherine Anderson and Hannah Gray to bring together the recruited young ‘champions’ for the project.

Ken Muir, Chief Executive and Registrar of GTC Scotland, said: “It is almost half a century since the 1976 Race Relations Act came into force and 10 years since the 2010 Equalities Act came into effect. Yet, still, in the second decade of the 21st century, we have a long way to go in addressing some issues of equality in our society. We also know that the make-up of the teacher workforce is not yet reflective of the Scottish population.

“Exploring the views of children and young people is essential to help understand how we can work pro-actively to better ensure the teaching profession is more representative of Scottish society as well as to support current teaching professionals to promote equality for all.”

Diversity in Teaching will also be an opportunity to explore  issues that are important to young people in 2020 and share their lived experiences with new audiences.

Applying to take part is straightforward – children and young people who'd like to be involved simply need to answer three questions. They can answer the questions on a form, write a poem or a comic. or make a short video.

For more information on the Diversity In Teaching - Children and Young People's Views On Diversity In Scottish Education project, email Elaine Kerridge at

GTC Scotland’s vision is inspiring world-class teaching professionalism. Click here to find out more

Diversity in Teaching recruitment film

In this short film Hannah Gray explains the project and how to get involved

Click to watch the film

Diversity in Teaching project explained

Find out more about the project's aims

Click to visit the project

Application form

Download the application form with three easy questions to answer

Click to download

Consent Form

Young people interested in taking part will need to download and complete a consent form

Click to download

From protest to policymaking: join my campaign for reform and ensure Afro-Scottish history is taught in our schools

10 July 2020

Changing the curriculum would be a vital step in anti-racist action, giving children in Scotland a proper understanding of colonialism, slavery and the hidden figures of black history, writes Eunice Olumide

My name is Eunice Olumide. I am an art curator and gallery owner, author, and international model.

When I was at school myself and fellow Scots learned nothing about the history and the role that Britain played in colonising Africa. Nor the way the West benefited financially, culturally, and socially from colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade.

We were also not taught anything about the many prominent Afro-Scottish, Caribbean, and Black British figures who have contributed significantly to the entire UK.

I decided to create a petition to put Afro-Scottish history on the curriculum, as part of my ‘Positive Action: Five Ways to Change the World’ in lockdown campaign.

The goal for me is to make real permanent change, getting a commitment and pledge from policymakers for proactive anti-racist action, creating meaningful steps through the implementation of a thorough and robust account of Afro-Scottish, Black British and African Diasporic history through the national education system.

This would negotiate, rectify, and recognise those real-life events and contributions that continue to shape and support our society today. It is essential to take action that goes beyond our initial protests worldwide.

I am calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to reform our education system to include all Afro-Scottish history including artefacts of African diaspora, cultural and economic contributions, the role of the British Empire and the benefits to Scotland from colonies of the Caribbean and Africa.

I would also like the curriculum to focus on pre-colonial African Scottish history. This could include the role of the Moors from the fourth century, at a time when racism did not exist, right through to those historic figures during and post-colonialism such as John Edmonstone (1793-1822), one of the most important figures in scientific research, an expert in taxidermy and teacher at Edinburgh University where he trained Charles Darwin, arguably one of the most profound figures in secular British ideology.

Or black British royalty Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a Yoruba Egbado Princess from Nigeria sold into slavery becoming the much beloved Goddaughter of Queen Victoria.

It is important for us all to learn about hugely important historic figures. People such as Philippa of Hainault, the first Black Queen of England right through to an incredible hidden figure like Katherine Johnson, the African-American female mathematician at the heart of NASA’s space program that put the first man on the moon.

The petition was only approved a few days ago and we have already had more than 1000 signatures as well as support from celebrities including Frankie Boyle.

We have until the fifth of August and then it will close. It is such a fantastic way for anyone who genuinely wants to create change to make a real difference that makes our country a better place for everyone regardless of your race, religion, or class.

The other four pillars in my campaign include:

  • Establishing a charity fund to support BME Businesses, the ADBSF (click here to visit)
  • Creating the first Scottish BME Heritage Museum (click here to visit),
  • Ensuring a monument is built alongside charity One Voice for Freedom, to honour the contribution of diaspora in central London (we have already raised 500k, supported by heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and fashion designer Ozwald Boateng), and
  • Producing the first ever film based on true life stories of systemic racism in Scotland.

We can all make a difference, no matter how large or small. So get involved and click here to sign the petition today!

Further information about Eunice and her work:

Contact Eunice and find out more:

About the author

Eunice Olumide is an art curator and gallery owner, writer and model

Click to find out more

Scottish Parliament petition

Read and share the petition to reform the national curriculum

Click to find out more

ADB Support Fund

A charity giving Afro-Caribbean communities tools to achieve economic stability

Click to find out more

Empire Museum

Read about the work underway to create the first Scottish BME Heritage museum

Click to find out more

Olumide Gallery

Eunice Olumide's gallery in London champions unique artistic talent

Click to find out more