Going backwards on Black Britons' role

27th April 2001 at 01:00
The Macpherson report recommending that "consideration be given" to amending the national curriculum so as to value cultural diversity, prevent racism and "reflect the needs of a diverse society" (Friday, April 20) should have been another opportunity to evaluate the workings of the said curriculum.

For example, in history, curriculum guidance might contain advice to promote cultural diversity, but the secondary national curriculum reinforces the notion that black people arrived here only post Windrush in 1948.

There are many examples of black people in Britain more than 2,000 years ago and there has been a settled presence here for around 500 years. This fact is still difficut to find in school textbooks or resources.

I wasn't a teacher in the days of the Inner London Education Authority, but I believe this kind of resource was more available then than now. Does this mean we are going backwards on the simple historical fact that black people have been enslaved, fought and died for, contributed to the wealth and development of this country and helped shape its current multicultural form?

The DfEE and the QCA should be taking a lead on this issue. The funding of local teacher resource centres, with appropriate teaching resources, in every borough would be a good start.

John Siblon, history teacher, Parliament Hill school, London NW5

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