Good to be Me

Brighton and Hove City Council in the United Kingdom has implemented a Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education Programme of Study to complement the UK Department for Education’s national curriculum. PSHE was designed in collaboration with partners in education, health, youth, community and voluntary sectors and is implemented throughout Brighton and Hove schools. PSHE topics include bullying, sexual health, citizenship, drug and alcohol use, and diversity. At St Luke’s primary school in Brighton, teachers are using the Good to be me (GTBM) theme for students students aged 3 to 11 years to teach about race and discrimination:

The aim of these lessons is to support children’s exploration of their identity and grow a sense of belonging, thereby supporting their emotional health and wellbeing. The lessons have a particular focus on race and ethnicity and give children the opportunity to develop their confidence in using positive language to recognise and describe their skin tone as a part of their identity. In an interview, Sarah Jackson and Anoushka Visvalingham, the two teachers, explained that the use of the GTBM theme emerged due to ‘responses of children in the school to do with race and ethnicity and perhaps showing that they didn’t feel comfortable… or [were] trying to hide aspects of their race or ethnicity, especially if Black or Asian’.

Another contributing factor for the use of GTBM included information from first-generation immigrant parents who attended coffee mornings, to share more about their experiences and those of their children. Activities conducted as part of the GTBM programme included painting skin colours, discussing similarities and differences, organised play, among others. GTBM lessons received positive pupil responses, with children noting in their evaluations that the most important thing that they learnt as a result of GTBM was that, ‘some people don’t like their skin colour and some people judge skin colour. It’s the first time we have learned about skin colour. Skin colour is a topic we need to talk about and we need educating about’.