Mick Waters

Why no topic should be taboo in our schools

When state schools were established in the Victorian era, the curriculum was designed to avoid discussion of contentious topics – to keep the public in line, says Mick Waters. Now, 150 years later, teachers are still shackled by the curriculum – so let’s set them free to explore the full scope and intrigue of their subjects

Why no topic should be taboo in our schools

The Black Lives Matter movement has called for the decolonisation of the curriculum, leading to discomfort in many schools.

This discomfort arises because the education system has never been good at dealing with contentious issues. While the spotlight is currently on black history, it could equally be on the Holocaust or the legacy of the Japanese involvement in the Second World War or the impact of nuclear testing in the 1960s. The discomfort is not confined to history – it exists around issues of gender, ethics in science and the portrayal of contentious issues in art. 

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