‘Truly significant project’: Group begins work on improving teaching of BAME Welsh history

Charlotte Williams pictured in Adelaide, South Australia. Picture: Naomi Jellicoe

A new working group set up by the Welsh Government will today begin looking into improving the teaching of the history of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in Wales.

In June, a petition calling for the history of BAME communities and colonial exploitation to be taught in Welsh schools was signed by more than 30,000 people.

The project, launched at the start of Black History Month, aims to improve the teaching of themes relating to Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and experiences across all parts of the school curriculum.

It is unclear however whether any BAME history will be mandated in the new curriculum introduced in Wales in 2022, as the curriculum does not set out exactly what history schools should be teaching, beyond an emphasis on the need for local history.

The group will instead review the learning resources currently available to support the teaching of themes relating to BAME communities, their contributions and experiences; advise on the commission of new learning resources; and reviewing and report on professional development to support teaching in these areas of learning.

Professor Charlotte Williams, who will chair the working group, said that it was a “truly significant project”.

“Our vision is that every pupil, as ethical and informed citizens of Wales and the world, should explore the diverse experiences and contributions of Black, Asian and minority ethnic peoples in Wales, past and present,” she said.

“Our vision would see every teacher in Wales, in every area of Learning and experience, equipped and resourced to meet these expectations in the design of their curriculum and in their pedagogical practice.”

 

‘Recommendations’

Today, Education Minister Kirsty Williams confirmed the working group’s membership and set out the group’s objectives and key milestones for delivery.

As well as Professor Charlotte Williams, the group includes:

  • Abu-Bakr Madden Al-Shabazz, Cardiff University Centre for Lifelong Learning
  • Angela Heald, head teacher of St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School, Swansea
  • Clara Seery, Managing Director of Central South Consortium
  • Humie Webbe, National Training Federation Wales
  • Dr Marian Gwyn of Bangor University
  • Professor Martin Johnes of Swansea University
  • Nia Williams of Ysgol y Preseli
  • Nicky Hagendyk, Humanities Lead, EAS Consortia
  • Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths, deputy head at High Cross Primary School, Rogerstone
  • Dr Shehla Khan, a lecturer at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David

The terms of reference published today set out the group’s aims and objectives.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “Today I am pleased to announce the publication of Terms of Reference for the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group.

“The group will work in the spirit of the Curriculum for Wales guidance, considering the strategic and broad principles and direction required, ensuring what is important in delivering a broad and balanced education across each of the areas of learning and experience.

“I expect the group to report on their initial findings, including recommendations for new resources for the forthcoming academic year by mid-autumn, with a final report presented in spring 2021.

“I am also pleased to note that the members of the Working Group, chaired by Professor Charlotte Williams OBE, reflect a wide range of experiences and specialisms.

“The Group is well placed to take full account of the histories, contributions and experiences of BAME communities in their work, and to deliver recommendations which will result in both the commission of robust and meaningful learning resources and constructive support for teaching practitioners to increase their skills in this very important area of learning.”

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