Last Updated: Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Heritage and Inclusion Project - Supporting young women from Black, Minority, Ethnicity (BME) backgrounds in secondary school

What is this?

Discover how one project is helping to reduce levels of isolation felt by young ethnic women in Edinburgh.

Who is this for?

Secondary and further education practitioners.

The Action for Children Heritage and Inclusion Project is helping to reduce levels of isolation felt by young ethnic women in Edinburgh. The project supports young women from Black, Minority, Ethnicity (BME) backgrounds to spend time researching and developing heritage learning using oral histories, archives and art collections, allowing them to become more aware of their own heritage and increase their participation within their own communities.

Explore this resource

Over 50 BME young people in Edinburgh have been supported by the Heritage and Inclusion project to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh award and they have produced two videos which highlight issues related to equality and inclusion.

'My Heritage' is a six minute video featuring young women from different cultural backgrounds and focusses on equality issues relating to gender, race, culture and religion. The young women explore the importance of their culture and heritage and of challenging the assumptions and misconceptions of others. ‘Everyone has a choice’ is a central message of the video.

'Cultural Inclusion' is a three minute video where members of the project highlight the importance of understanding other people’s culture and religion. The young women focus on the need to challenge preconceptions and show that understanding different cultures is the first step to inclusion.

How to use this resource

The videos can be used to support open, honest conversations about gender, race, culture and religion and to counter some of the misinformation that has spread in recent years, particularly in some sections of the media. They should be used in the context of a broader anti-racist education programme, and may assist establishments to meet their legal obligations to promote equality and tackle discrimination based on gender, race and religion.

The resource also focuses on participation and empowering young to people to have their voices heard.

Improvement questions

  • To what extent do we celebrate diversity of race, religion and cultures?
  • How do we, as an establishment, support all of our young people to feel listened to, valued and included?
  • As practitioners, do we support young people to question media content and potential bias?
  • To what extent do we use whole setting approaches or class settings to explore issues related to racial equality?

Further information

The Heritage and Inclusion Project provides an example of good practice in widening participation. Research conducted by Action for Children found that many young women from Sikh and Muslim families have limited opportunities to take part in extra curriculum activities and further education due to cultural barriers.

In the past, the Duke of Edinburgh award has not been accessible to all groups due to cultural restrictions. Levels of participation in this award programme were negotiated and adapted to be inclusive for all young people, raising the statistics in Scotland considerably for participation by diverse groups. Due to the innovation and dedication of the project leader there are now more ethnically and culturally diverse girls participating in the award in Edinburgh than in the rest of Scotland.

The inclusive activities increase self-esteem, confidence, and cultural awareness. The project:

  • Delivers cultural awareness through art and film;
  • Supports positive destinations;
  • Delivers awareness of services available to young women focusing on young women’s rights;
  • Supports refugee and asylum seekers.