Closed petition Add education on diversity and racism to all school curriculums

Racism is a problem that affects all members of society. It is important to deconstruct taught ideas of racism to children so they do not go on to become perpetuators or victims of racism. At the moment classes about racism and diversity are not mandatory and this should be changed.

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The Government must acknowledge racism as a problem and address it. As racism is a taught behaviour it is important to directly address racism through education. The younger we teach and encourage anti-racist behaviour, the better prepared children will be to anticipate and correct these negative behaviours throughout their lives. Minority groups are disproportionately affected in many political issues. By dismantling racist constructs early on, we can combat these issues also.

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Government responded

This response was given on 30 July 2020

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 respect and tolerance for all cultures.

Read the response in full

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. We do not believe that education on diversity and racism needs to be added to all school curriculums as there is already flexibility in subject curriculums for teachers to choose topics which highlight diversity. There are also specific curriculum areas as set out below where teaching on diversity and racism can be explicitly included.

The Department for Education is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity and supports all pupils and students to tackle racism and have the knowledge and tools to do so. We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. We also want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. Schools are required to actively promote fundamental British values, including democracy as well as the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faith and beliefs.

We are also making Relationships Education compulsory for primary school pupils, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory for secondary school pupils and Health Education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools from September 2020. The statutory guidance sets out that as part of Relationships Education, all primary pupils will be taught the importance of respecting others, even when they are very different from them, or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs. Pupils will also be taught what a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive. This will be reinforced at secondary school when pupils will also learn about legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal.

Schools can also teach about racism in Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education and Citizenship Education where pupils can develop their understanding of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding. There is also flexibility within the history curriculum for teachers to teach about Black and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras, to support an understanding of the active role Black and minority ethnic people have played in history.

Department for Education

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/323808)

Other parliamentary business

Original Government response

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 respect and tolerance for all cultures.

The Department for Education is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity and supports all pupils and students to tackle racism and have the knowledge and tools to do so. We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. We also want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. Schools are required to actively promote fundamental British values, including democracy as well as the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faith and beliefs.

We are also making Relationships Education compulsory for primary school pupils, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory for secondary school pupils and Health Education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools, from September 2020.

The statutory guidance sets out that as part of Relationships Education, all primary pupils will be taught the importance of respecting others, even when they are very different from them, or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs. Pupils will also be taught what a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive. This will be reinforced at secondary school when pupils will also learn about legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal.

Schools can also teach about racism in Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education and Citizenship Education where pupils can develop their understanding of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding. There is also flexibility within the history curriculum for teachers to teach about Black and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras, to support an understanding of the active role Black and minority ethnic people have played in history.

Department for Education

This response was given on 26 June 2020. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.

MPs to debate Black History Month in the House of Commons

MPs will debate Black History Month on Tuesday 20 October in the main House of Commons Chamber. The subject of the debate has been determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

The debate will start sometime after midday. The exact start time will depend on how quickly the previous business, legislation on Non-Domestic Ratings, is completed.

You can watch the debate live, or replay it later on Tuesday on this link: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/6d7a2177-2518-4174-a0ba-c311a6fa9488

Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/
Find out more about the Backbench Business Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/202/backbench-business-committee/

MPs to examine Black history and cultural diversity in the curriculum

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee petition.parliament.uk) will hear from petition creators and other campaigners and experts in an 'evidence session' on Black history and cultural diversity. This session is the result of the petition you signed and others calling for changes to the curriculum which have received hundreds of thousands of signatures.

The Petitions Committee will be working with the Women and Equalities Committee and MPs from the Education Committee.

Find out more about the session: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/120411/petitions-committee-announces-joint-evidence-session-on-black-history-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-curriculum/

Watch the session live at 2.30pm on Thursday 5 November: https://youtu.be/WjwNciEYe9s

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons. It is independent of the Government.
You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter @HoCpetitions or on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/
Find out more about how petitions work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGEOraE08Jk&feature=youtu.be

Find out more about the Women and Equalities Committee:
https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/328/women-and-equalities-committee/

Find out more about the Education Committee:
https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/203/education-committee/

These are ‘select committees’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

MPs take further evidence on Black history and cultural diversity in the curriculum

On Wednesday 18 November, the Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee heard further evidence on Black history and cultural diversity in the national curriculum.

Watch the session: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/1901748e-fd28-4a57-b669-902b12cbd38f
A transcript will be published in due course.

The committees took evidence from a range of academics and educational experts including Dr Marlon Moncrieffe of the University of Brighton, Professor Claire Alexander, University of Manchester, Dr Christine Callender, of UCL Institute of Education, and Allana Gay, co-founder of the BAMEed Network.

This session follows the first joint evidence session on 5 November, where the committees heard from petitioners, experts and academics on the need for change.

Follow the Committee for real-time updates on its work: https://www.twitter.com/hocpetitions
Find out more: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/131901/committee-announces-second-joint-evidence-session-on-black-history-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-curriculum/

When will this petition be debated?

Once the Petitions Committee has finished its work on this issue, it will schedule this petition for a debate. We’ll let you know when that happens. The work it is doing will help inform that debate.

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons. It is independent of the Government.

You can get updates on their work on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

Find out more about how petitions work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGEOraE08Jk&feature=youtu.be

Find out more about the Women and Equalities Committee:
https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/328/women-and-equalities-committee/

Find out more about the Education Committee:
https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/203/education-committee/

These are ‘select committees’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Share your views on ethnic disparities and inequality in the UK

The Government has launched a consultation on ethnic disparities and inequality in the UK, and want to hear from members of the public. There are ten questions, and you can answer any or all of them.

One of the questions is: How should the school curriculum adapt in response to the ethnic diversity of the country?

You can find out more about the consultation and contribute here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/ethnic-disparities-and-inequality-in-the-uk-call-for-evidence/ethnic-disparities-and-inequality-in-the-uk-call-for-evidence

The closing date for responses is Monday 30 November 2020.

The Petitions Committee has been working jointly with the Women and Equalities Committee to look into Black history and cultural diversity in the curriculum. You can find out more about their work so far, watch the evidence sessions, and read the transcripts here:

https://committees.parliament.uk/work/739/black-history-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-curriculum/

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons. It is independent of the Government.

Find out more about the Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

Get real-time updates on the Committee's work by following them on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/HoCPetitions

Find out more about how petitions work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGEOraE08Jk&feature=youtu.be

Find out more about the Women and Equalities Committee:
https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/328/women-and-equalities-committee/

Find out more about the Education Committee:
https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/203/education-committee/

These are ‘select committees’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

MPs to question Education Minister Nick Gibb on Black history & cultural diversity in the curriculum

On Thursday 25 February, the Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee will question Education Minister Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP on Black history and cultural diversity in the national curriculum, after hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions on this issue including this one. A Member of the Education Committee will also attend the session. Andrew McCully, Director General for Early Years and Schools Group, Department for Education, will also give evidence.

Watch live from 2.30pm on Thurs 25 Feb: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/cc5888c2-c99e-475f-b8ad-1d0d9597651c

Find out more, including comments from Petitions Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/144690/committees-to-question-government-minister-on-black-history-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-curriculum/

Ahead of the session, the Committees surveyed petitioners, teachers and other education staff to find out their views on this issue. Thanks to everyone who took part.

Read a summary of what you told us: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/23085/default/

Find out more

Follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter for real-time updates on its work on this and other issues: https://www.twitter.com/hocpetitions

Follow the Women and Equalities Committee on Twitter for real-time updates on its work on this and other issues: https://www.twitter.com/commonswomequ

MPs write to the Government for more information following recent evidence session on Black history

On 9 March, Petitions Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell and Women and Equalities Committee Chair Caroline Nokes wrote to Education Minister Nick Gibb to ask for further information on several of the answers he gave to the Committees on the issue of Black history and cultural diversity in the curriculum.

Read the letter: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/23571/default/

The two Committees questioned Mr Gibb on 25 February on evidence they had taken from petitioners, campaigners, historians and educators in response to several well-supported petitions calling for the curriculum to be diversified and decolonised, including the petition you signed.

Watch the evidence session: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/cc5888c2-c99e-475f-b8ad-1d0d9597651c
Read the transcript: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/1746/default/

Find out more

Find out more about the role of the Petitions Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/role/

Follow the Petitions Committee for real-time updates on its work: https://www.twitter.com/hocpetitions

Find out more about the Women and Equalities Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/328/women-and-equalities-committee/

Follow the Women and Equalities Committee for real-time updates on its work: https://www.twitter.com/commonswomequ

Government responds to request for more information on its work on diversity in the curriculum

The Petitions Committee have published a response from Minister for School Standards Nick Gibb MP to a joint letter from the Petitions and Women and Equalities Committees, which asked for further information on a range of issues relating to Black history and cultural diversity in the national curriculum.

Read the Government's response: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5675/documents/55882/default/
Read the Petitions Committee’s letter: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/23571/default/

In his response, Mr Gibb outlines the Government’s plans for improving support for teachers’ curriculum planning, teacher training reform, anti-bullying work, and commits to considering the recommendations from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

What is the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities?

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has been set up by the Government to review inequality in the UK, focusing on areas including poverty, education, employment, health and the criminal justice system. The Commission will look at outcomes for the whole population.