Understanding the breadth of Britain’s history is crucial to tackling the injustices and racism in our society and around the world that persist today.
I agree that schools need to teach children about Black British history. It is vital that future generations understand the role that Black Britons have played in our country’s history and the struggle for racial equality.
I am aware that the Black Curriculum published a report in January 2020 on Black British History in the National Curriculum. It explores how the “current History National Curriculum systematically omits the contribution of Black British history in favour of a dominant White, Eurocentric curriculum that fails to reflect our multi-ethnic and broadly diverse society.”
I am further aware that the Runnymede Trust has said “the way history is taught in our schools often fails to include Black British histories, and broader British histories of empire and migration”.
The Government has recently stated it “believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach. As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experience of Black people.”
I believe the Government must improve the teaching of Black British history and the history of the British Empire, colonialism and slavery, to help ensure their legacy is more widely understood across the country. It should look at creating an Emancipation Educational Trust, aimed at educating future generations about slavery and the struggle for emancipation.
Furthermore, I am concerned that the curriculum has been narrowed over recent years. I believe that every child must have the opportunity to engage in a wide-ranging, accurate and reflective curriculum. The Government should review the curriculum to ensure that it enriches students and covers subjects such as Black history.
I have written to the Secretary of State for Education making these views clear and have urged him to reform the curriculum. Please find my letter attached for your reference.