Tan Dhesi MP for Slough
Understanding the breadth of Britain’s history is crucial to tackling the injustices and racism in our society and around the world that persist today.
I agree that schools need to teach children about Black British history. It is vital that future generations understand the role that Black Britons have played in our country’s history and the struggle for racial equality.
I am aware that the Black Curriculum published a report in January 2020 entitled Black British History in the National Curriculum. It explores how the “current History National Curriculum systematically omits the contribution of Black British history in favour of a dominant White, Eurocentric curriculum that fails to reflect our multi ethnic and broadly diverse society.”
I am further aware that the Runnymede Trust has said “the way history is taught in our schools often fails to include Black British histories, and broader British histories of empire and migration”.
The Government has recently stated it “believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach. As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about…how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experience of Black people”.
I do not believe that this goes far enough. The Government must improve the teaching of Black British history and the history of the British Empire, colonialism and slavery, to help ensure their legacy is widely understood by all children. It should ensure that all pupils are taught about slavery and the struggle for emancipation.
I have spoken publicly about this need for our educational curriculum to include both the positives and negatives of Britain’s history, which can be seen in the article attached to this tweet: https://twitter.com/TanDhesi/status/1271768706759176193?s=20.
Furthermore, I am concerned that the curriculum has been narrowed over recent years. Provision must be there for every child to engage in a wide-ranging curriculum that reflects the make-up of our society. The Government should review the curriculum to ensure that it enriches all students and so that every child has a knowledge and understanding of Black British history.
I can assure you that I will continue to urge the Government to ensure that children are taught about Black British history.