We are pleased to announce that today, the Equality and Human Rights Commission have published new national guidance against Afro hair discrimination in schools.
The policy guidance has come about due to a campaign we launched in October 2021, in collaboration with the Halo Collective and Enact Equality. Our APPG Officer (and current Vice-Chair), Kim Johnson MP, wrote to the Commission and asked them to publish new strengthened guidance against race-based hair discrimination. The letter was co-signed by a variety of renowned public figures and brands, including Dove, Pantene, Univilever, Procter & Gamble, Lord Simon Woolley, Wera Hobhouse MP, Emma Dabiri, GLAMOUR Magazine, the British Beauty Council and many more.
Currently, over half of Black children have been sent home from school for wearing their hair naturally or in a protective style. This is completely unacceptable. All children should be encouraged to embrace their identity, not punished for it. We are hopeful that the new guidance improves the educational experiences of children across the UK, and informs educators on why, and how, Afro hair discrimination is illegal.
Key quotes from the new national guidance, published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, can be found below:
Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool Riverside and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race Equality in Education said:
This is a really important step forwards in tackling hair discrimination against people with afro-textured hair, and in exposing the shocking reality that Black children are loosing out on their education as a result of their natural hair. I’m proud that together we’ve won recognition that hair discrimination is a form of race discrimination. People should be allowed to embrace their cultural heritage and be treated fairly, and not excluded from school because of prejudice and discrimination. No ones education should suffer because of the colour of their skin or the texture of their hair. I’m really pleased that the EHRC will be publishing new guidance after a successful campaign.
L’myah Sherae, Director of Enact Equality and Founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race Equality in Education said:
No child should be sent home from school for wearing their natural hair. We want Black children across the UK to know that they can be genuinely proud of their identity, not penalised for it. I am therefore pleased that this guidance is now being published, and I am proud to have been involved in the drafting process. Schools should be safe and supportive environments for all pupils, and race equality in education should be a priority for all teachers. These new resources are an important step towards ensuring that the next generation of children are better protected, and the generations thereafter.