Client : Welsh Government
Using an equity-centred design approach in public research
As part of its action plan to achieve Wales’ anti-racist ambition, the Welsh Government asked DK&A to work with learners and staff in further education to both understand the extent of and impacts of racism, and identify policy and systemic interventions to foster and maintain anti-racist environments.
The research project took place following the launch of the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan in 2022, which set out the Welsh Government’s commitment to creating a more inclusive society for all. Included in the plan are co-produced actions to be taken over the next five years to address racism, tackle hate crime and promote diversity and inclusion in public life. A key goal set out in the plan is to dismantle inequalities in education.
Using ethnographic research & building partnerships across the sector
The Welsh Government’s Anti-racist Further Education Steering Group, which is comprised of members of FE institutions, stakeholders and experts, had oversight over the project, shaping the objectives and approach. The DK&A research team worked closely with charity Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team Wales (EYST), who helped to define the approach and carry out the fieldwork.
Working with staff & students across Wales to understand the problem
After a nation-wide call-out for participants was made to staff and learners in further education, apprenticeships and adult learning was made, researchers worked with a small sample of staff and learners. They held in-depth interviews, prioritising depth of inquiry.
Two key research findings
1. Covert racism has increasingly become the experience of racism faced by ethnic minority staff and learners:
There was a consensus that racism manifests less often in name-calling, and more in microaggressions and othering. Confidence in actively challenging covert racism was low, and this lack of confidence played a key role in perpetuating patterns of discrimination.
2. The process of reporting a racist incident was not meeting expectations:
Reporting processes were found to be either unknown or unclear to staff and learners, and carried out in inconsistent ways. They had not met the expectations of learners and staff member involved in the study, and had in some cases reinforced trauma or exacerbated racism.
Implementable solutions to help create an anti-racist education system
Through a process of mapping and analysis, the DK&A-EYST research team arrived at 6 high-level opportunities for intervention:
Through the input of experts in Anti-racism and further education leadership, actions were developed against each of these opportunities. Across each area, actions ranged from those achievable locally in the short-term to wider policy actions.
The research report (which you can read here) presented a comprehensive picture of the extent and impacts of racism across the further education sector.
The lived experience of staff and learners, beyond the data story, shaped the findings.
26 practical actions identified to act on racism in further education, which are now being developed at local and national levels.
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