Calls for black British history to be taught in English schools

9 January 2020, 20:27 | Updated: 9 January 2020, 20:56

Windrush Day demonstration In London
Windrush Day demonstration In London. Picture: Getty
Sylvia De Luca

By Sylvia De Luca

Campaigners are calling for black history to become part of the curriculum as an alternative to Black History Month, saying "no history should be boxed into one month."

Black History Month is marked in October and is a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.

But campaigners are instead calling to embed black history into the education system, rather than only teach it for one month a year.

Founder and Director of The Black Curriculum Lavinya Stennett told LBC News: "Fundamentally, we believe that that's just not enough because no history should be boxed into one month."

Ms Stennett added her organisation seeks to teach black history all year round to "actually normalise it because it's history, it's British history, and every young person should have access to that."

"There are many facets that can be tied to current topics," she continued, "for example, migration is a huge topic. Now a lot of schools are picking it up. And you know, with recent action, such as Windrush it is very relevant.

"But, you know, we shouldn't start at Windrush I think it should happen a little bit before because there were loads of examples from centuries back that show that black migration to the UK is part of British history," she added.

David Lammy MP (centre) with members of the Windrush generation following a personal apology from immigration minister Caroline Nokes, as they visited Parliament for the first time since the scandal forced the home secretary to resign.
David Lammy MP (centre) with members of the Windrush generation following a personal apology from immigration minister Caroline Nokes, as they visited Parliament for the first time since the scandal forced the home secretary to resign. Picture: PA

People from Caribbean countries who arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1971 have been labelled the Windrush generation.

The Windrush scandal concerned people who were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation, and in some cases, wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office.

The scandal and outrage over the treatment of the Windrush generation led to the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary in April 2018, and the appointment of Sajid Javid as her successor

Former prime minister Theresa May was also forced to apologise to Caribbean leaders over deportation threats made to the children of Commonwealth citizens, who despite living and working in the UK for decades, were told they were living in the country illegally because of a lack of official paperwork.

American basketball player Wilson Chandler wears a shirt for black history month
American basketball player Wilson Chandler wears a shirt for black history month. Picture: PA

Lavinya Stennett told LBC News that black history could be taught across the curriculum in schools in England through subjects such as History, English, Drama, Geography and Art.

Ms Stennett, a former Soas student, devised The Black Curriculum, with an aim to "provide a sense of belonging and identity to young people across the UK, teach an accessible educational Black British history curriculum, and improve social cohesion between young people."

The organisation originally started by teaching in secondary schools but following feedback from parents and teachers, it now teaches black history to pupils from primary school onwards.

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