Neil Thompson and Tim Thomas review two very useful training packs on combating racism in schools and integrating key skills with care awards.

    Toolkit for tackling racism
    in schools

    Stella Dadzie

    Trentham Books, Westview House,
    734 London Road, Oakhill,
    Stoke on Trent, ST4 5NP

    £10.95

    This is an interesting and potentially very useful publication
    which will be of value in schools (its main intended readership)and
    in wider settings, including social care.

    It is divided into three parts. The first is entitled Nuts and
    Bolts and comprises a useful set of background readings covering
    various aspects of anti-racist policy, practice and education. Part
    two goes under the title of Hammers and Tongs and contains sets of
    training exercises divided into five sections: history,
    stereotypes, attitudes, violence and responses. Many of these are
    intended as classroom activities for schools.

    However, some can translate directly into training exercises in
    working with adults and others can easily be adapted by experienced
    trainers who feel confident enough to do so. Part three is entitled
    Bricks and Mortar and contains a discussion on the use of language,
    details of books and other resources and a list of relevant
    organisations.

    The author clearly has a wealth of experience and expertise and
    does a very good job of putting all this to good use. It is
    well-written, organised into clear sections and certainly provides
    plenty of food for thought. Some trainers may find the emphasis on
    schools a distraction but, none the less, this publication has a
    great deal to offer.

    It is excellent value and should prove a very popular resource.
    It deserves to be widely used, far beyond the confines of school
    classrooms. Racism and anti-racist practice are complex topics and,
    sadly, prone to oversimplification in many training contexts.

    This guide should play an important part in helping to prepare
    training that does justice to the complexities and subtleties of
    this vitally important aspect of good practice.

    Neil Thompson is a director of Avenue Consulting and a
    visiting professor at the University of Liverpool
    .

    Integrating key skills in care

    National Extension College,
    The Michael Young Centre,
    Purbeck Road,
    Cambridge CB2 2HN

    £175 inc p&p

    The relationship between NVQ Key Skills and the Department of
    Health’s care awards has, with the possible exception of some
    groups of younger candidates, not been given much attention within
    the employment sector. Some of the reasons for this are easy to
    understand. Some employers claim they already have enough on their
    plates with the care awards or they don’t have access to IT
    equipment. Key skills are described as not relevant to the jobs
    people do.

    While many of these claims have some validity, it is also fair
    to say that as an opportunity to acquire additional qualifications,
    key skills do have attractions.

    This pack sets out to help candidates make links between what
    they do as care workers and key skills. The pack is presented in a
    clear and user friendly style, and assists the learner or group in
    a helpful yet focussed way.

    The materials are in divided into two parts. Part one, First Key
    Skills, covers activities like writing a report, using a database
    and taking part in a discussion. Part two is Wider Key Skills and
    includes improving your own learning and performance, working with
    others and problem solving.

    I particularly liked the potential within the Wider Key Skills
    section, but in all areas there is clear signposting and links to
    care themes. This gives “credibility through context”, thus helping
    candidates gather their evidence in an effective and economical
    way. I would have liked more examples so that the materials would
    be relevant to a broader range of care settings. The Department for
    Education and Environment’s Key Skills Support Programme has
    provided some additional “exemplar packs” but industry- grown ones
    would be more relevant.

    Probably the best potential for integrating Key Skills with the
    care awards is in the Level Three suite of awards where the unit
    options and content give good opportunities. Use with Level Two
    would also be feasible with a little imagination.

    Tim Thomas runs an NVQ assessment centre in
    Leicestershire
    .

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