'Review curriculum to reflect UK's black history'

DfE should also ensure all trainee teachers are equipped with 'anti-racist strategies', says NEU in letter to Boris Johnson

Amy Gibbons

School classroom

The government should review the curriculum to reflect Britain's roots in black and global history, achievement and culture, teachers have said.

In a letter to the prime minister, the NEU teaching union has also called for a review of initial teacher training (ITT) "to equip all trainee teachers with anti-racist strategies and tools", and a strategy to make new entrants to the profession "significantly more diverse" over the next four years.

The letter to Boris Johnson, signed by NEU joint-general secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, says the government should review the curriculum "to ensure it embraces the fact that Britain is rooted in black and global history, achievement and culture and includes the achievements of black Britons; as recommended by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry".


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"Black children and young people face racism every day and experience a curriculum that does not reflect black history, culture or global achievement," it states. 

"Over 4,000 young people were excluded, for racism, in 2017-2018."

The letter sets out a series of actions the NEU believes the government should take, "irrespective of the timescale of any new review".

These include to:

  • Provide immediate advice to employers in the education sector about the racial disparities in the pandemic in order to minimise risks to the wellbeing and safety of black workers and the communities in which they live, work and travel.
  • Review the curriculum to ensure it embraces the fact that Britain is rooted in black and global history, achievement and culture and includes the achievements of black Britons; as recommended by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.
  • Commit to review initial teacher training to equip all trainee teachers with anti-racist strategies and tools, for the benefit of all students.
  • Adopt a strategy to make the pipeline of new entrants to the teaching profession significantly more diverse over the next four years.
  • Learn from the Windrush Review and develop a plan to teach about the history of the UK and its relationship to the rest of the world – including Britain's colonial history and the history of migration.

The letter adds: "We will publish an anti-racist framework for schools and colleges this term to build the capacity of education and professional skills to challenge racism.

"We believe that, irrespective of the timelines of any new review, ministers need an anti-racist strategy and immediate action plan if you are to make real change and harness the potential of education."

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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