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


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

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

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