The importance of black history
Written by Hitmix News on 31 May 2021
The new curriculum in Wales will make black history a mandatory part of education. It is the first of the four nations to take this step.
But what does it mean in practice, and why is this such a significant step? We’ve met two teachers from very different parts of the country who are already making sure the stories of Welsh diversity feature prominently in lessons.
Kojo Hazel is a teacher at Treorchy Comprehensive School in the Welsh Valleys.
“I am extremely excited about the introduction of the new curriculum for Wales.
“My experience growing up as a black boy in a predominantly white school was of a curriculum seriously lacking in diversity and culture, with very few role models that I could relate to.
“There are so many promising developments for a diverse approach that have been missing for such a long time.
“Teaching of diverse histories will become mandatory in all areas of learning, and for me this opens a whole catalogue of material to educate and inspire my pupils with.
“I particularly look forward to being able to teach about black historical sporting heroes such as Jack Johnson, Wilma Rudolph and Althea Gibson who opened a world of possible for black people across the globe.
“With the introduction of mandatory anti-racism and diversity training for all trainee and acting teachers, scholarships to support more BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) students to enter teacher training, we are certainly moving in the right direction.
“I sincerely hope that we see a positive impact on diversity and inclusion though the new curriculum for Wales.”
Shubnam Aziz is a teacher at Mount Stewart Primary School in Bute Town, Cardiff.
“At Mount Stuart Primary we have 478 pupils and 95% are from minority ethnic groups. Diversity is central to our curriculum, and we ensure ethnic minority history and achievements are taught across the curriculum.
“The school’s vision is for all pupils to both understand and be proud of their heritage as part of a diverse community.
“Quality tests form a basis for our curriculum ensuring equal coverage throughout the year of a range of ethnicities (authors, characters and themes).
“Books accurately reflect our school community and modern Wales.
“The civil rights movement is important, pupils need to understand the struggles in Britain for equal rights.
“In ‘Black History Month’ pupils in Year 5 revisited Rosa Parks’s role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955, before focusing on the Bristol Bus Boycott 1963 and how it was influential in the passing of the Race Relations Act in 1965, making racial discrimination unlawful in public places.
“As part of Welsh history, ethnic minority learners need histories relevant to them and their lives.
“In Black History Month the school had a focus on the life and achievements of Betty Campbell MBE.
“Betty was a community activist and Mount Stuart’s and Wales’s first black headteacher.
“Through research children were proud to find Betty was pivotal in Black History Month being taught in Britain.”