How does race play out in schools? A scoping review and thematic analysis of racial issues in Australian schools

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Racial bias and racism present widespread challenges in educational settings. Children may experience and/or witness racial bias or racism at school and the impacts are pervasive. Despite this knowledge, there is a paucity of research examining these issues in primary school contexts. A scoping review and thematic analysis examining racial bias and racism within Australian primary school contexts yielded four salient themes (1) a lack of teacher confidence and competency regarding racial issues, (2) white normativity, (3) colour-blindness and (4) silencing. Findings suggest that students need ongoing discussions about race, racism and racial bias. However, teachers need supportive leadership and training to enact such educational conversations. This review also provides an understanding of how school contexts potentially contribute to the development of prejudicial views in children, finishing with implications for policy, practice and research to assist in building more inclusive and equitable classrooms for all students, regardless of their race or ethnicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1505-1538
Number of pages34
JournalSocial Psychology of Education
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Anti-racist education
  • Australian primary schools
  • Inclusive education
  • Racial bias
  • Racism

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