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Black History Month: Conversations About Your Curriculum

Posted on Monday 04th October 2021

You and your organisation have a wonderful opportunity to be part of the national celebrations and events to honour the too-often unheralded accomplishments of Black Britons in every area of endeavour throughout our history.

Black History Month Website – blackhistorymonth.org.uk

In the UK, October is Black History Month, an event that has been taking place for more than 30 years. As stated on the Black History Month website, it should be a time to celebrate and learn about the achievements of Black Britons throughout history.

It can also be an opportunity for us to stop and consider how we represent Black history, not just during October and not just in history lessons, but throughout our whole curriculum and throughout the year.

How inclusive and diverse is your curriculum?

Every school will be at a different place with their curriculum design, and it is so important that whilst planning we consider how we teach history so that it includes Black history throughout.

So, why not use this October to start, continue or develop conversations with staff and pupils in your school about Black History, your curriculum and how you represent Black History within your curriculum.

Start, continue, develop …

  • Take time as a staff team to look at and evaluate your curriculum. Look at the famous figures that you learn about both in the present and in the past. Is there a representation from different races or could there be more opportunities?
  • Once evaluated, spend time planning and extending these opportunities within your history curriculum and beyond. For example, you could learn about the history of John Blanke, a royal trumpeter for Henry VII and Henry VIII, Reggae music within music lessons, or Black scientists within your science curriculum.
  • Also, review the resources you are using to teach both in history and across wider subjects. Do they reflect our diverse history? For example, look at your non-fiction texts, do the pictures showcase people throughout history from different ethnicities?
  • Consider ways you can use your literacy lessons to explore Black history. For example through creative writing or poetry about specific events or experiences. Images can be a particularly powerful stimulus for this. The National Literacy Trust has also collated a list of more diverse and inclusive texts that can be used.

Black History Month is a good opportunity to reflect on what more needs to be done in order to ensure that our education system is fit for purpose.

The Rt Hon The Lord Paul Boateng of Akyem and Wembley PC DL

Here are some useful resources and websites …

  • Black History Month Website – with a wide range of resources and articles, the Black History Month website can provide a great place to direct staff to develop their own knowledge and understanding.
  • The Black Curriculum – The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise who are committed to the teaching and support of Black history all year round. Their website offers a wide range of resources (including videos) for using in the classroom or to support planning. Suitable for using with KS2 and KS3 pupils.
  • Runnymede Trust – The Runnymede Trust is the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank.
  • How to re-imagine Black History Month in your school – This really interesting blog from Tara Okeke offers ideas to help schools embed Black History within their curriculum.
  • LookUp Platform – An online platform which allows teachers to quickly and easily browse programmes and resources that can all be used within the classroom or to support with planning.
  • Newsround Article – From 2020, this great Newsround article provides information and context for young people about Black History Month and its importance.
  • Our Migration Story – This website presents the often untold stories of the generations of migrants who came to and shaped the British Isles.
  • Romans Revealed – If you are learning about the Romans, this website created in partnership with the Runnymede trust is perfect for sharing a range of stories from diverse backgrounds.

Black History Month

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