Dear Gavin Williamson MP, make Black British history compulsory in schools now
‘The Black Curriculum’ is calling for an overhaul of the nationwide syllabus. Here’s how you can support them
Britain has a proven track record of being racist for many centuries. This may sound very obvious to you now. But think back to your history lessons at school and you probably won’t remember being taught this. That’s because the British education system is hellbent on making sure you know as little as possible about Britain’s racist past. And when they do tell you, there’s a focus on how glorious and brave The British Empire was while downplaying the brutal murders of millions.
For British citizens to truly understand the historical oppression of Black people in the UK we need to start teaching Black history in school – and The Black Curriculum are campaigning for that. Founded by young people in 2019, they teach and support the teaching of Black history in classrooms across the country and throughout the year. Now their mission is to get Black history taught as part of the national curriculum. Today they’ve written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Education, calling for him to respond by 22nd June – Windrush Day.
In the open letter to Gavin Williamson MP they said: “Dear Secretary of State,
“We the undersigned are writing to request a meeting to discuss embedding Black history in England’s National Curriculum more explicitly. We met with your Deputy Director of Curriculum Policy, Kathryn Warrilow in December 2019, who suggested we write to you to discuss this issue. Given the increased awareness of racial history in Britain in recent weeks, we feel it is particularly important to have an open conversation now, and discuss with the Department steps it can take to rectify this long-standing omission from British education.
“The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise founded by young people in 2019. We teach and support the teaching of Black history in classrooms across the country and throughout the year. We have developed our own syllabus on Black British history and culture, with input from several experts in this space, and deliver a range of programmes for young people, as well as tailored CPD training for teachers and leaders. Our syllabus highlights an important array of events, developments and people from Black British history and is endorsed by thousands of schools across the country – directly impacting over 1000 students. Teaching Black British History offers all young people the opportunity to release their full potential and accelerate social mobility for their futures and those of future generations.
“The importance of recognising Black history and culture explicitly in our education system has never been more pronounced. Implementing such amendments in the national curriculum will give British students of all backgrounds a deeper understanding of the varied and wide-ranging cultural contributions to Britain and will support teachers to help promote tolerance and community cohesion as enshrined in the Education and Inspections Act, 2006. This practical solution will allow us to invest into the future of the next generation and put Britain on the path to becoming a leading 21st Century nation that is truly global, diverse and accepting. As the landmark 1985 Swann Report stated, ‘multicultural understanding has to permeate all aspects of a school’s work. It is not a separate practice that can be welded onto existing practices’.
If agreeable, we would like to request a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss the above. Please respond to our correspondence by the 22nd of June 2020. We hope you will consider our request.”
You can read the full open letter here.
Find out more about The Black Curriculum here, including how to donate.
Listen to The Black Curriculum podcast here.
Follow The Black Curriculum on Instagram here.
You can sign this petition to demand maximum justice for George Floyd’s death, this petition to demand the UK government stop the sale of riot gear to American police forces, and this petition to demand an overhaul of the British curriculum.