Closed petition Making the UK education curriculum more inclusive of BAME history

Rewrite the education curriculum to be more inclusive of BAME history - making topics on the historical and current impacts of European colonisation, institutional racism and slavery on BAME societies compulsory for all UK students to learn. As well, as celebration of BAME history and cultures.

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Recent events in the US has sparked conversation amongst young people regarding the extent the current curriculum educates students on concepts such as institutional racism, White supremacy and celebration of BAME history and cultures.
Racism stems from a lack of education and it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that the students are receiving a holistic education from the top-down.

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Government responded

This response was given on 30 July 2020

The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about BAME history across a spectrum of themes and eras.

Read the response in full

The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black, Asian and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum.

The full curriculum is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-history-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-history-programmes-of-study

We have set out some examples below that the Department suggests in the curriculum, but the teaching of Black, Asian and minority ethnic history need not be limited to these examples:

In Key Stage 1 – key historical events within or beyond living memory; the lives of key Black historical figures such as Mary Seacole and Rosa Parks or others.

In Key Stage 2 – the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer, The Indus Valley, Ancient Egypt, The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China; and a study of a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history, we give as choices an early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; and Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.

In Key Stage 3 – this key stage requires teaching of the theme “ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901”, within which we give examples including, Britain’s transatlantic slave trade: its effects and its eventual abolition, the development of the British Empire with a depth study (for example, of India), Ireland and Home Rule; and within the requirement to teach “the study of an aspect or theme in British history that consolidates and extends pupils’ chronological knowledge from before 1066” we give an example for a more in-depth study on the topic of the impact through time of the migration of people to, from and within the British Isles. This key stage also requires teaching of at least one study of a significant society or issue in world history and its interconnections with other world developments, we give examples of Mughal India 1526-1857, China’s Qing dynasty 1644-1911, Changing Russian empires c.1800-1989, USA in the 20th century.

Additionally, local history is an element across all key stages.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic history can also be taught across many of the themes of the history curriculum by reflecting the contribution of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people across the ages in the UK and more widely. This can include historical examples relating to Romans, Tudors, Stuarts, Georgians and Victorians. It can include the role of the countries of the former British Empire in both world wars, and the part Black, Asian and minority ethnic people have played in shaping the UK in the 20th Century.

There is scope to include Black and minority ethnic history and experience in other curriculums as set out below:

Citizenship: At Key Stage 4, pupils should be taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding. They are also taught about human rights and the actions citizens can take in democratic and electoral processes to influence decisions locally, nationally and beyond. Pupils should experience and evaluate different ways that citizens can act together to solve problems and contribute to society.

English: The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage. It encourages pupils to read a range of books, poems and plays to encourage the development of life-long love of literature.

Pupils should be taught to maintain positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by increasing their familiarity with a wide range of books, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions.

Teachers have flexibility in their choice of books to teach within the context of the curriculum.

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 pupils 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.

All schools are required to teach a balanced and broadly based curriculum that promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils, and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

As set out in the examples above, the National Curriculum for England already has the flexibility to be inclusive of BAME history so we do not believe it is necessary to change the curriculum.

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/323961)

Other parliamentary business

Original Government response

The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about BAME history across a spectrum of themes and eras.

The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black, Asian and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum.

The full curriculum is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-history-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-history-programmes-of-study

We have set out some examples below that the Department suggests in the curriculum, but the teaching of Black, Asian and minority ethnic history need not be limited to these examples:

In Key Stage 1 – key historical events within or beyond living memory; the lives of key Black historical figures such as Mary Seacole and Rosa Parks or others.

In Key Stage 2 – the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer, The Indus Valley, Ancient Egypt, The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China; and a study of a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history, we give as examples an early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; and Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.

In Key Stage 3 – this key stage requires teaching of the theme “ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901”, within which we give examples including, Britain’s transatlantic slave trade: its effects and its eventual abolition, the development of the British Empire with a depth study (for example, of India), Ireland and Home Rule; and within the requirement to teach “the study of an aspect or theme in British history that consolidates and extends pupils’ chronological knowledge from before 1066” we give an example for a more in-depth study on the topic of the impact through time of the migration of people to, from and within the British Isles. This key stage also requires teaching of at least one study of a significant society or issue in world history and its interconnections with other world developments, we give examples of Mughal India 1526-1857, China’s Qing dynasty 1644-1911, Changing Russian empires c.1800-1989, USA in the 20th century.

Additionally, local history is an element across all key stages.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic history can also be taught across many of the themes of the history curriculum by reflecting the contribution of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people across the ages in the UK and more widely. This can include historical examples relating to Romans, Tudors, Stuarts, Georgians and Victorians. It can include the role of the countries of the former British Empire in both world wars, and the part Black, Asian and minority ethnic people have played in shaping the UK in the 20th Century.

There is scope to include Black and minority ethnic history and experience in other curriculums as set out below:

Citizenship: At Key Stage 4, pupils should be taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding. They are also taught about human rights and the actions citizens can take in democratic and electoral processes to influence decisions locally, nationally and beyond. Pupils should experience and evaluate different ways that citizens can act together to solve problems and contribute to society.

English: The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage. It encourages pupils to read a range of books, poems and plays to encourage the development of life-long love of literature.

Pupils should be taught to maintain positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by increasing their familiarity with a wide range of books, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions.

Teachers have flexibility in their choice of books to teach within the context of the curriculum.

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

Ministerial statement on the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

On Tuesday 20 April, the Minister for Equalities Kemi Badenoch MP gave a statement to the House of Commons on the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

The statement follows the Government's publication of the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-report-of-the-commission-on-race-and-ethnic-disparities

Watch the statement here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/b586787a-eb7f-409b-b20e-9cb31d21ddd0?in=13:38:40

Read the transcript here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-04-20/debates/1502466F-D06B-402A-B7C0-03452FFB1DA9/CommissionOnRaceAndEthnicDisparities

Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of the House. Find out more about them here: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/statements/

What did the report say about the curriculum?

The Commission considered the extent to which children acquire a proper grounding in the national story, including its multi-ethnic character, and recommended that the Department for Education work with an appointed panel of independent experts to produce a well-sequenced set of teaching resources to tell the multiple, nuanced stories that have shaped the country we live in today.

Read the report's section on teaching an inclusive curriculum here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-report-of-the-commission-on-race-and-ethnic-disparities/education-and-training#making-of-modern-britain-teaching-an-inclusive-curriculum

What is the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities?

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) 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, which is independent of the Government, will look at outcomes for the whole population.

Find out more about the Commission here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/commission-on-race-and-ethnic-disparities

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.

Petitions debate on Black history and cultural diversity in the curriculum scheduled for 28 June

The Petitions Committee has scheduled a debate on Black history and cultural diversity in the curriculum, following its joint work on this subject with the Women and Equalities Committee.

The debate will take place on Monday 28 June and will last up to 90 minutes. It will be led by Chris Evans MP, a Member of the Petitions Committee, and the Government will send a Minister to respond.

Watch the debate live (from 6.15pm, Mon 28 June): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcP3QNGmUpA

Read the transcript (available shortly after the debate ends): https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-06-28

Find out more about the work by the Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee into Black history and cultural diversity in the curriculum: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/739/black-history-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-curriculum/

Follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter for live updates on the debate: https://twitter.com/hocpetitions

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs appointed by the House of Commons to consider petitions started on https://petition.parliament.uk and public (paper) petitions.