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Union calls for action on Islamophobia in schools

A teaching union has passed a motion on Islamophobia in schools (David Jones/PA)
A teaching union has passed a motion on Islamophobia in schools (David Jones/PA)

A teaching union is calling for more action to tackle Islamophobia in Scottish schools, saying understanding the issue should be integrated into the curriculum.

The NASUWT union says all school staff should be trained on how to tackle Islamophobia and promote equality.

On Saturday, the union’s annual conference passed a motion saying it was “appalled” that 75% of Muslims said Islamophobia was an everyday issue, according to a report released last year.

The report, which resulted from a cross-party inquiry at Holyrood, also found 18% of Scottish Muslims said they had experienced discrimination in school.

Three-quarters of those who responded said Islamophobia has an impact on the educational outcomes of Muslims.

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.

“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.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are committed to tackling hate crime and prejudice, including Islamophobia, in all its forms.

“We are clear that it is not acceptable and will not be tolerated – not least in our schools.

“We expect that all schools develop, implement and regularly update their anti-bullying policies.

“This is supported by respectme, Scotland’s anti-bullying service, which works with local authorities, communities and other organisations, and underpinned by the Scottish Government’s national approach to anti-bullying, Respect for All.”

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