The National Curriculum is framed in an Anglo centric perspective, where victors and ‘pioneers’ have written the history and defined the narrative in all subjects. Consequently, this has resulted in the ‘racial erasure’, such as the whitewashing of atrocity and the elimination of non-white contributors within the curriculum. It is essential for schools to modernise the curriculum to reflect the global population of the school, this will eventually develop an inclusive ethos of learners understanding a range of different cultures in preparation of becoming Global Citizens.
Anti-Racist Curriculum Audit – History
We aim to implement an anti-racist and anti-oppressive approach by reviewing and implementing changes in our curriculum, through the lens of our Black and Global Majority student population. We were inspired by the NEU anti-racist framework https://neu.org.uk/media/11236/view which was used to ensure that the curriculum has broad and balanced representation.
For example, this Scheme of Learning developed by the History curriculum leader @msmarshhistory1 to ensure that there is;
Increasing representation of events and individuals who are the ‘Global Majority
Move away from solely focusing on the history of white, Western Europeans with political power
Representation is not merely one of ‘historical oppression’ but diverse in its specific historic enquiry, highlighting role models
The work of social historians is at the forefront of more historical inquiries
The intersection between different characteristics e.g. class is recognised whilst acknowledging there is no hierarchy of oppression
Recognition that changing the content of the curriculum is not enough, staff must be racially literate in order to effectively deliver this curriculum in an anti-racist way.
Following the feedback from our staff anti-racism training, we have produced a ‘racism interrupters’ help script laminated into cards to fit into staff lanyards along with a ‘restorative conversations’ help script. The aim is to encourage and develop the confidence of staff to address any concerns relating to racism, in particular, suspected micro-aggressions within the classroom. Download an editable version below.
Following the Oasis Community Learning, Break The Cycle conferences earlier this year (see Session 1 and Session 2), saw the launch of an aspirational plan with the aim of implementing an anti-racist approach at Oasis Academy Media City, focusing on decolonising the structures in education through; Curriculum Reviews, Staff Training and CPD, Student Education, Community, and Leadership and Management.
It has been a challenging start to the school year, due to Covid-19 and limited-time capacity to facilitate the project, where the majority of the work was completed outside of the school hours. Despite this, I’m proud to report that significant milestones have been achieved in the first term;
Curriculum Review and Adaptation
Review curriculum areas to ensure they have contributions from Black and Global Majority contributors.
Audit the cultural diversity of each Programme Of Study (POS)– each POS representative of different cultures across the five years of study.
Audit the teaching and learning through an anti-racist leans using the NEU anti-racist framework
Review and adapt the PSHE curriculum based on the feedback from students
Review the subject areas to ensure that they have career paths that are inclusive for BGM students.
List of industry professionals , coaches and mentors that could be used for interventions through the race trust (launch term 2)
Introduction to Black and Global History, in conjunction with the University of Manchester and the Heritage fund. UOM will find local trailblazers for core subjects (Maths, English and Science) with the aim of including these within the lessons. https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/hub/107833/news?page=9
Anti-Racist training in conjunction with local Grass root organisations that focuses on Anti-Racism to provide a framework for PSHE lessons
Opportunity to discuss issues relating to race, politics, culture, and identity with teaching staff chairing the conversations, addressing any misconceptions
Dropdown days consisting of Anti-Racist workshops timetabled throughout the academic year
Ensure that all cultural events are included in the calendar- for example refugee week, Diwali, Eid, Chinese New Year, Wind rush day etc. Robust plan for Black History Month. Use the OCL equality and diversity calendar as a framework for upcoming events.
Visual and communication audit report. All areas of communication that is associated to OAMCUK (Website, School Newsletters, Photos around the academy, classrooms)
Targeted inventions for vulnerable BGM students / BGM NEET / BGM High prior attainers with mentors from BGM community, from a wide range of sectors. EG entrepreneurs from the business sector to create a ‘school to industry pipeline.’
Expand the Black and Global History trail to all subjects within the curriculum
Anti-Racist training in conjunction with local Grass root organisations that focuses on Anti-Racism resources to provide a framework for PSHE lessons. Opportunity to discuss issues relating to race, politics, culture, and identity with teaching staff chairing the conversations, addressing any misconceptions
Staff Training and CPD
Staff to become diversity champions, becoming experienced in an anti-racist and anti-oppressive pedagogy
Deliver a session on being diversity champions as staff
Anti-Racist Working party group (meeting termly)
Anti-racist training (Booked in for half term 2)
Anti-racist CPD structured in half term from specialist providers
Unconscious and implicit bias training
Targeted interventions for Black and Global Majority students
Review the area of concern (e.g. Careers / subject area) that needs intervention.
Targeted tutorials with the University of Manchester and Aim Higher for Black students interested in Optometry, Dentistry, and Physics.
Student ambassadors. Focused on an anti-racist approach and community cohesion
Student voice (Half Termly Termly) See survey https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=zz3XjXy17EC3-HVbUS2fe_xHa7NdGvVLrMTZ2vc5tthUOVFERktYUEkxMlhXNkhVRjVNRDROUkFDOS4u
Regular meetings with students that have been involved in racist attacks on other students. Far-right extremism/anti-racism interventions
Anti-Racist lessons, Followed up by targeted Interventions focused on the impact of Hate Crime
Anti-racist ambassador training
Leadership and Management
Term 1 Behavior Policy review: Critically Review existing school policy through the lens of Black and Global Majority Learners
Racist incidents 3 days in Internal exclusion that could lead to a Fixed Term Exclusion
Return to school meeting with parents and SLT
The incident is referred to the police and local authorities
Repeat offenders will be Fixed Term Excluded
Anti-racist course 6-week course to be completed
Amended Anti-Racist section in the home school agreement for parents and staff to sign
Review existing performance management content and include a target aligned with becoming an anti-racist school
Audit of racial indents sanctions and restorative interventions
Name Blind recruitment process when appointing new staff
Positive discrimination focused on the recruitment of Good/ outstanding BGM practitioners
BGM representation on the OCL equivalent of the Board of governors
Clear recruitment to leadership progression for BGM teachers
Improve local community links
Weekly meetings with the community strategy response team
Collaborations with local anti-racist organizations
Weekly meetings with the community strategy response team (Neighbourhood development officers, Salford Youth Service, Local Agencies focused on online safety, Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour updates from the local PCSO’s)
Increased involvement with community partners, utilising the Oasis Hub
There is an urgent need to address the diversity of teachers in leadership positions within schools to highlight the changing demographics of the student population. A diverse leadership team represents the expectation of equality for learners and creates positive stereotypes as opposed to the subordinate roles that are often associated to staff from BAME origin
The statistics present a major concern; the ratio of BAME leaders to BAME students is disproportionate compared to that of their White counterparts. Steve Chalke the founder of the multi-academy trust, Oasis Community Learning, reports that as of 2017, the department of education statistics show that just 3.2 percent of state-funded secondary school head teachers identified as non-white, while for primary school head teachers the figure was 2.4 percent. In January 2016, according to official figures, just 39 secondary headteachers in England identified as black.
This has led to the following concerns;
With no BAME leaders how can we best tackle racism in our schools?
With no BAME leaders how do we encourage BAME students to aspire to be leaders themselves?
With no BAME leaders how do we address the unconscious bias that we are instilling in all our students, of any ethnicity: that leaders are white, and for that matter, most often male and middle-class?
The event ‘Breaking the cycle’ explores how we change the culture and promote BAME leadership in education. This event is hosted by Oasis Community Learning and TES in central London on March 9, 2019.
Break the Cycle – generating equity in education leadership takes place. For more information, click here.