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History: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Departments will revise the national curriculum to consider Black British history and the history of racism and discrimination in the British empire.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what books by non-white authors are currently required reading on the (a) primary and (b) secondary school curriculum.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that textbooks used in the national curricula are (a) race conscious and (b) inclusive.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the extent and value of teaching of Black and minority ethnic experience in the national curriculum.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Racism in all its forms is abhorrent and has no place in our society. Schools play a significant role in teaching children about the importance of having respect and tolerance for all cultures. The Department is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity and supports all students to tackle racism and have the knowledge and tools to do so.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their students, and to make choices about what they teach and the resources they use, this also includes textbooks. The development and content of textbooks is a matter for individual publishers rather than the Department. The Department has not made an assessment of the impact of the National Curriculum on any specific group.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, students should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experiences of Black and minority ethnic people. The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum.

There is scope to include Black and minority ethnic history and experience in other curriculums, such as in:

  • Citizenship: At Key Stage 4, students should be taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.
  • PSHE: Schools have flexibility to teach topics such as Black history as part of their Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) programme and through the introduction of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education students will be taught the importance of respectful relationships in particular how stereotypes, based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage.

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