Building Racial Literacy

Published 09/11/2021.  Last updated 28/05/2024

The national Building Racial Literacy programme promotes anti-racism as a baseline professional value, empowering educators to identify and implement anti-racist behaviours and processes in their everyday practice.

The ultimate goal of the Building Racial Literacy programme is to make every educator in Scotland racially literate, effective at dealing with racism and confident in leading anti-racism.

Co-constructed with a wide range of partners, including education practitioners and stakeholders on the Scottish Government Anti-Racism in Education Programme (AREP) over 300 educators and education system leaders across Scotland have taken part in the Building Racial Literacy programme during its three iterations from 2022.

Three short videos have been created to tell the programme’s story with participants from cohort 1, cohort 2, cohort 3 and cohort 4.

The Building Racial Literacy programme is open to all educators in Scotland. The programme is for those interested in becoming anti-racist educators and leaders, those seeking to build their confidence in discussing and challenging racism and those who need help identifying and implementing anti-racist behaviours and processes in their everyday practice.

We welcome educators at different stages of their anti-racist learning.

The Building Racial Literacy professional learning programme is delivered entirely online through the Education Scotland website, online events are hosted on Microsoft Teams and the collaborative platform Slack.

Participants on this national programme are expected to:

  • commit to two afternoon induction events, one full day at the end of the programme, three twilight webinars and a minimum of six hours of self-directed online learning between programme events.
  • keep a reflective journal and submit a short extract of your final journal entry with your anti-racist action plan to present to your peers at the end of the programme.
  • engage your school and/or learning community in the programme (through programme tasks provided on the programme website and professional dialogue)
  • become part of an anti-racist learning network and a national movement for racial literacy
  • collaborate and support anti-racist change in your context following your personalised action plan and with the support of the learning network. This can also include:
  • supporting colleagues, children and young people, learners and wider communities to engage in anti-racist learning; supporting colleagues to engage with anti-racist resources and professional learning opportunities; and applying to support the delivery of future iterations of the Building Racial Literacy programme (this requires attendance to future Train the Trainer sessions).

By completing this programme, you will:

  • build your racial literacy. In particular, start learning about the nuances of racism and anti-racism (with the language to name it) and build the skills to continue this learning long after the programme is over
  • begin developing the skills, confidence and resilience to engage in racial dialogue
  • develop a personalised action plan to lead anti-racist change

You will also receive a certificate of completion.

Applications for Cohorts 5 and 6 have now opened! You can apply be completing this MS Form. Applications are open until Wednesday 19th June.

If you have any questions about this programme and the application process, please see our frequently asked questions document or contact us.

Once you are registered on the Building Racial Literacy programme, you will be able to access the programme area by logging in. From there, you will be able to see and complete the programme tasks. The programme tasks require you to:

  1. Read/listen/watch/reflect using the programme area and your reflective journal
  2. Post your responses to tasks on Slack in your private channels
  3. Collaborate on Slack by commenting on the task responses of the peers in your private channels.

The additional online learning will take place during programme events such as twilight webinars. You will be sent instructions to join these online events on Microsoft Teams.

Whilst learning online, we expect participants to:

  • work independently and in a self-directed manner
  • get in touch with the Programme Leads Facilitators and/or Anti-Racist Buddies if additional support is required
  • devote appropriate time to the programme (excluding programme events, spend at least six hours on self-directed learning)
  • read, listen to and watch relevant texts and find out more about anti-racism in education
  • develop or enhance the skills of critical thinking and reflection
  • post responses to programme tasks on Slack and comment on group members’ responses
  • have a reliable computer and broadband internet access
  • work with computers, including using the internet to access Slack and Microsoft Teams for programme events.

The Building Racial Literacy programme creates safer, braver spaces for learning, not for blame, where honest and open discussions allow educators to collaborative, reflect, grow and experience truly transformative and life-changing professional learning. The support available on the programme is unique as the wellbeing of participants centred throughout the programme.

Past participants rated the networking opportunities and quality of learning on the programme as excellent.

Participants' feedback and evaluation of the programme to date has been overwhelmingly positive, with the majority feeling:

  • more confident to talk about and deal with racism,
  • eager to continue deepening their increased understanding of racism,
  • inspired and motivated to commit to anti-racist action in their different settings,
  • supported by the programme and its newly formed learning networks.

White majority ethnic educators and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic educators were challenged and supported throughout the programme. Several participants have shared their experiences of the programme:

  1. My Experience of Building Racial Literacy blog by Rukhsana Ali: Rukhsana is a primary teacher who felt the programme helped build her confidence to apply for an Education Officer post.
  2. Building Racial Literacy blog by Emma Walters: Emma is a secondary teacher who explains how the programme had a liberating impact on both herself and her learners.
  3. Decolonising the Curriculum blog by Angel Hinkley: Angel discusses exploring positive narratives that challenge assumptions, empower learners and inspire unity.

The programme also has a poem titled Seeds of Antiracist Education composed by Tawona Sithole. The poem solidifies the importance of the programme and the benefits it brings. A spoken-word performance of the poem is available on YouTube.

The inspirational and transformative nature of the Building Racial Literacy programme was highlighted in Cohort 1 participants’ evaluation of programme:

“Challenging, powerful, uncomfortable learning. It has been the most valuable experience of my career.”

“I am more confident in leading others to become racially literate. More knowledgeable about where to get resources and information for myself and others to support anti-racist change. I feel more able to tackle courageous conversations with staff and parents.”

“The BRL programme, has been by far, THE best CPD I have ever attended. Not just the content but the actual structure, support, ease of access, pace, rhythm, signposting, platforms used etc.”

“Completely life changing. I feel that the blinkers have been taken off. I hope that I am more switched on to racial micro-aggressions, unconscious biases etc. I will also be an active bystander now that I am more aware of what to look and listen for. I hope to affect positive change in my school community and local authority. It will be a long process, but one that I am happy to be part of.”

“The most valuable lesson that I have learned so far is that I am not alone. I may be the only person of colour in my school but I am part of this huge community of educators who want to make the right change for the young people in our care.”

“The content has been expertly selected and has been incredibly powerful. The speakers have been truly inspirational and immensely credible. The tasks have helped me to formulate my own response to the materials provided, which have been extensive and intelligently curated. Caters well for white and Black participants.”

More experiences of the programme can be found on social media under the hashtag #EdScotBRL

The programme runs for five months.

The programme runs for approximately five months. The provisional dates for Cohorts 5 and 6 are below. These are possibly subject to changes.

Cohort 5

Welcome Webinar: Thursday 29th August 4-5 pm

Induction Part 1: Friday 6th September 2-5pm

Induction Part 2: Tuesday 17th September 2-5 pm

Webinar 1: Tuesday 29th October 4-5:30 pm

Webinar 2: Thursday 21st November 4-5:30 pm

Webinar 3: Thursday 12th December 4-5:30 pm

Sharing the Learning Summit: Friday 24th January 9-4pm

Cohort 6

Welcome Webinar: Tuesday 19th November 4-5pm

Induction Part 1: Friday 6th December 2-5pm

Induction Part 2: Tuesday 17th December 2-5pm

Webinar 1: Wednesday 15th January 4-5:30 pm

Webinar 2: Tuesday 4th February 4-5:30 pm

Webinar 3: Thursday 27th February 4-5:30 pm

Sharing the Learning Summit: Friday 21st March 9-4pm

As the Professional Learning and Leadership Team is currently funded to develop a suite of programmes, and the Building Racial Literacy programme is also funded by the Scottish Government’s Anti-Racism in Education Programme. Participation in the Building Racial Literacy programme is free of charge. There is no funding available to cover costs.

By racial literacy, the Building Racial Literacy programme refers primarily to France Winddance Twine’s definition as 'a form of anti-racist training' with:

  • a recognition of racism as a contemporary, not just historical, problem
  • a consideration of intersectionality (the ways racism intersects with other factors such as class and gender)
  • the development of language to discuss race, racism and anti-racism
  • the ability to decode race and racial micro-aggressions.

The programme development follows a process of collaborative programme design and ongoing review cycles with different types of engagement and partners.

Design partners

The programme prototype was designed in partnership with members of the Education Leadership and Professional workstream of the AREP, as well as anti-racist organisations and training providers including the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER), the Scottish Association for Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE), Scotdec, the Third Generation Project, the University of West of Scotland and Education Scotland.

The design partners collaborate to design professional learning experiences for educators, planning for recruitment, evaluation, communication and sustainability of the Building Racial Literacy programme. Partners are encouraged to collaborate for several iterations of the programme, until there is more capacity in the system to deliver the programme more widely.

Content creation partners

Content creation partners are invited at different stages of the programme development to create content that is used in the Building Racial Literacy programme. Content includes learning activities during programme events as well as online learning and reflective activities using a variety of texts, such as short video and audio clips.

Content review partners

Content review partners quality assure the content created and improve the design of each learning experience in the Building Racial Literacy programme. Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament have been involved in creating and reviewing content. Content review partners could equally become Facilitators and Anti-Racist Buddies supporting programme participants. Content review partners can include:

  • Programme participants
  • design partners and delivery partners
  • education practitioners
  • third sector organisations and community groups empowering people with lived experiences of racism in Scotland
  • youth groups with demonstrated commitment to young people’s activism
  • professional learning providers

Education Scotland have created an interim evaluation report of the Building Racial Literacy programme. External evaluation is being planned to capture the medium and longer-term impacts of the programme.

Delivery partners

During live programme events delivery partners are required to facilitate different learning activities. Due to the sensitive and emotive nature of racial dialogue, careful consideration needs to be given to facilitation. This will ensure that safer spaces are created for white people and for people of colour/ Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people with lived experiences of racism. Delivery partners can include:

  • Education Scotland Lead Specialists
  • interested design partners with experience of facilitating professional learning
  • external facilitators with experience of facilitating anti-racist professional learning
  • qualified counsellors to support any participants for whom the programme content may trigger racial trauma and emotional distress
  • BRL alumni who apply to support delivery and successfully complete relevant training.

Building Racial Literacy

Published 09/11/2021.  Last updated 28/05/2024

The national Building Racial Literacy programme promotes anti-racism as a baseline professional value, empowering educators to identify and implement anti-racist behaviours and processes in their everyday practice.

The ultimate goal of the Building Racial Literacy programme is to make every educator in Scotland racially literate, effective at dealing with racism and confident in leading anti-racism.

Co-constructed with a wide range of partners, including education practitioners and stakeholders on the Scottish Government Anti-Racism in Education Programme (AREP) over 300 educators and education system leaders across Scotland have taken part in the Building Racial Literacy programme during its three iterations from 2022.

Three short videos have been created to tell the programme’s story with participants from cohort 1, cohort 2, cohort 3 and cohort 4.

The Building Racial Literacy programme is open to all educators in Scotland. The programme is for those interested in becoming anti-racist educators and leaders, those seeking to build their confidence in discussing and challenging racism and those who need help identifying and implementing anti-racist behaviours and processes in their everyday practice.

We welcome educators at different stages of their anti-racist learning.

The Building Racial Literacy professional learning programme is delivered entirely online through the Education Scotland website, online events are hosted on Microsoft Teams and the collaborative platform Slack.

Participants on this national programme are expected to:

  • commit to two afternoon induction events, one full day at the end of the programme, three twilight webinars and a minimum of six hours of self-directed online learning between programme events.
  • keep a reflective journal and submit a short extract of your final journal entry with your anti-racist action plan to present to your peers at the end of the programme.
  • engage your school and/or learning community in the programme (through programme tasks provided on the programme website and professional dialogue)
  • become part of an anti-racist learning network and a national movement for racial literacy
  • collaborate and support anti-racist change in your context following your personalised action plan and with the support of the learning network. This can also include:
  • supporting colleagues, children and young people, learners and wider communities to engage in anti-racist learning; supporting colleagues to engage with anti-racist resources and professional learning opportunities; and applying to support the delivery of future iterations of the Building Racial Literacy programme (this requires attendance to future Train the Trainer sessions).

By completing this programme, you will:

  • build your racial literacy. In particular, start learning about the nuances of racism and anti-racism (with the language to name it) and build the skills to continue this learning long after the programme is over
  • begin developing the skills, confidence and resilience to engage in racial dialogue
  • develop a personalised action plan to lead anti-racist change

You will also receive a certificate of completion.

Applications for Cohorts 5 and 6 have now opened! You can apply be completing this MS Form. Applications are open until Wednesday 19th June.

If you have any questions about this programme and the application process, please see our frequently asked questions document or contact us.

Once you are registered on the Building Racial Literacy programme, you will be able to access the programme area by logging in. From there, you will be able to see and complete the programme tasks. The programme tasks require you to:

  1. Read/listen/watch/reflect using the programme area and your reflective journal
  2. Post your responses to tasks on Slack in your private channels
  3. Collaborate on Slack by commenting on the task responses of the peers in your private channels.

The additional online learning will take place during programme events such as twilight webinars. You will be sent instructions to join these online events on Microsoft Teams.

Whilst learning online, we expect participants to:

  • work independently and in a self-directed manner
  • get in touch with the Programme Leads Facilitators and/or Anti-Racist Buddies if additional support is required
  • devote appropriate time to the programme (excluding programme events, spend at least six hours on self-directed learning)
  • read, listen to and watch relevant texts and find out more about anti-racism in education
  • develop or enhance the skills of critical thinking and reflection
  • post responses to programme tasks on Slack and comment on group members’ responses
  • have a reliable computer and broadband internet access
  • work with computers, including using the internet to access Slack and Microsoft Teams for programme events.

The Building Racial Literacy programme creates safer, braver spaces for learning, not for blame, where honest and open discussions allow educators to collaborative, reflect, grow and experience truly transformative and life-changing professional learning. The support available on the programme is unique as the wellbeing of participants centred throughout the programme.

Past participants rated the networking opportunities and quality of learning on the programme as excellent.

Participants' feedback and evaluation of the programme to date has been overwhelmingly positive, with the majority feeling:

  • more confident to talk about and deal with racism,
  • eager to continue deepening their increased understanding of racism,
  • inspired and motivated to commit to anti-racist action in their different settings,
  • supported by the programme and its newly formed learning networks.

White majority ethnic educators and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic educators were challenged and supported throughout the programme. Several participants have shared their experiences of the programme:

  1. My Experience of Building Racial Literacy blog by Rukhsana Ali: Rukhsana is a primary teacher who felt the programme helped build her confidence to apply for an Education Officer post.
  2. Building Racial Literacy blog by Emma Walters: Emma is a secondary teacher who explains how the programme had a liberating impact on both herself and her learners.
  3. Decolonising the Curriculum blog by Angel Hinkley: Angel discusses exploring positive narratives that challenge assumptions, empower learners and inspire unity.

The programme also has a poem titled Seeds of Antiracist Education composed by Tawona Sithole. The poem solidifies the importance of the programme and the benefits it brings. A spoken-word performance of the poem is available on YouTube.

The inspirational and transformative nature of the Building Racial Literacy programme was highlighted in Cohort 1 participants’ evaluation of programme:

“Challenging, powerful, uncomfortable learning. It has been the most valuable experience of my career.”

“I am more confident in leading others to become racially literate. More knowledgeable about where to get resources and information for myself and others to support anti-racist change. I feel more able to tackle courageous conversations with staff and parents.”

“The BRL programme, has been by far, THE best CPD I have ever attended. Not just the content but the actual structure, support, ease of access, pace, rhythm, signposting, platforms used etc.”

“Completely life changing. I feel that the blinkers have been taken off. I hope that I am more switched on to racial micro-aggressions, unconscious biases etc. I will also be an active bystander now that I am more aware of what to look and listen for. I hope to affect positive change in my school community and local authority. It will be a long process, but one that I am happy to be part of.”

“The most valuable lesson that I have learned so far is that I am not alone. I may be the only person of colour in my school but I am part of this huge community of educators who want to make the right change for the young people in our care.”

“The content has been expertly selected and has been incredibly powerful. The speakers have been truly inspirational and immensely credible. The tasks have helped me to formulate my own response to the materials provided, which have been extensive and intelligently curated. Caters well for white and Black participants.”

More experiences of the programme can be found on social media under the hashtag #EdScotBRL

The programme runs for five months.

The programme runs for approximately five months. The provisional dates for Cohorts 5 and 6 are below. These are possibly subject to changes.

Cohort 5

Welcome Webinar: Thursday 29th August 4-5 pm

Induction Part 1: Friday 6th September 2-5pm

Induction Part 2: Tuesday 17th September 2-5 pm

Webinar 1: Tuesday 29th October 4-5:30 pm

Webinar 2: Thursday 21st November 4-5:30 pm

Webinar 3: Thursday 12th December 4-5:30 pm

Sharing the Learning Summit: Friday 24th January 9-4pm

Cohort 6

Welcome Webinar: Tuesday 19th November 4-5pm

Induction Part 1: Friday 6th December 2-5pm

Induction Part 2: Tuesday 17th December 2-5pm

Webinar 1: Wednesday 15th January 4-5:30 pm

Webinar 2: Tuesday 4th February 4-5:30 pm

Webinar 3: Thursday 27th February 4-5:30 pm

Sharing the Learning Summit: Friday 21st March 9-4pm

As the Professional Learning and Leadership Team is currently funded to develop a suite of programmes, and the Building Racial Literacy programme is also funded by the Scottish Government’s Anti-Racism in Education Programme. Participation in the Building Racial Literacy programme is free of charge. There is no funding available to cover costs.

By racial literacy, the Building Racial Literacy programme refers primarily to France Winddance Twine’s definition as 'a form of anti-racist training' with:

  • a recognition of racism as a contemporary, not just historical, problem
  • a consideration of intersectionality (the ways racism intersects with other factors such as class and gender)
  • the development of language to discuss race, racism and anti-racism
  • the ability to decode race and racial micro-aggressions.

The programme development follows a process of collaborative programme design and ongoing review cycles with different types of engagement and partners.

Design partners

The programme prototype was designed in partnership with members of the Education Leadership and Professional workstream of the AREP, as well as anti-racist organisations and training providers including the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER), the Scottish Association for Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE), Scotdec, the Third Generation Project, the University of West of Scotland and Education Scotland.

The design partners collaborate to design professional learning experiences for educators, planning for recruitment, evaluation, communication and sustainability of the Building Racial Literacy programme. Partners are encouraged to collaborate for several iterations of the programme, until there is more capacity in the system to deliver the programme more widely.

Content creation partners

Content creation partners are invited at different stages of the programme development to create content that is used in the Building Racial Literacy programme. Content includes learning activities during programme events as well as online learning and reflective activities using a variety of texts, such as short video and audio clips.

Content review partners

Content review partners quality assure the content created and improve the design of each learning experience in the Building Racial Literacy programme. Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament have been involved in creating and reviewing content. Content review partners could equally become Facilitators and Anti-Racist Buddies supporting programme participants. Content review partners can include:

  • Programme participants
  • design partners and delivery partners
  • education practitioners
  • third sector organisations and community groups empowering people with lived experiences of racism in Scotland
  • youth groups with demonstrated commitment to young people’s activism
  • professional learning providers

Education Scotland have created an interim evaluation report of the Building Racial Literacy programme. External evaluation is being planned to capture the medium and longer-term impacts of the programme.

Delivery partners

During live programme events delivery partners are required to facilitate different learning activities. Due to the sensitive and emotive nature of racial dialogue, careful consideration needs to be given to facilitation. This will ensure that safer spaces are created for white people and for people of colour/ Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people with lived experiences of racism. Delivery partners can include:

  • Education Scotland Lead Specialists
  • interested design partners with experience of facilitating professional learning
  • external facilitators with experience of facilitating anti-racist professional learning
  • qualified counsellors to support any participants for whom the programme content may trigger racial trauma and emotional distress
  • BRL alumni who apply to support delivery and successfully complete relevant training.