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Wales to become first UK nation to make Black, Asian and ethnic history mandatory on school curriculum

01 Oct 2021 2 minutes Read
Butetown’s muslim community in 1943. Picture by the Imperial War Museum

Wales is set to become the first UK nation to make the teaching of Black, Asian and minority ethnic histories and experiences mandatory in the school curriculum.

Subject to final sign-off by the Senedd next month, the Welsh Government has added learning about the diversity of communities, in particular the stories of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, into the new Curriculum for Wales guidance.

The announcement of the change coincides with the start of Black History Month. The new Curriculum framework is due to be introduced from September 2022.

The Curriculum will include six Areas of Learning and Experience. Each Area includes mandatory elements known as ‘Statements of What Matters’, described as the ‘big ideas’ and key principles in each Area.

One of the 27 Statements is that “Human societies are complex and diverse, and shaped by human actions and beliefs.” The Statement will now include an expectation that learners “can develop an understanding of the complex, pluralistic and diverse nature of societies, past and present. These stories are diverse, spanning different communities as well as in particular the stories of black, Asian and minority ethnic people.”

‘Respect’

Last year, a working group, led by Professor Charlotte Williams OBE, was formed to improve teaching on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, including developing new teaching materials and training for teachers and trainee teachers.

The group’s work is being supported through £500,000 from the Welsh Government.

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said that it was “vitally important that our education system equips our young people to understand and respect their own and each other’s histories, cultures and traditions”.

“Today’s announcement will help enrich the new curriculum, and therefore teaching in Wales, for years to come,” he said.

“The new Curriculum for Wales will empower teachers and education settings to design lessons to inspire their learners to become ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world.

“If we are to progress as a society, we must create an education system which broadens our understanding and knowledge of the many cultures which have built Wales’s, and the world’s, past and present.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
21 days ago

Subject heading…It takes all kinds to make a world…simple !

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
21 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Perhaps time to change the saying to ‘It takes all kinds to make a country’?

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
20 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

As Neil Sinclair points out, Tiger Bay was never a black or ethnic minority place but one where a community lived. Many or most of that community were what he called Afro-Celts and others called “melting pot”.
I was once asked by a Bayite; “Are you one of us, melting pot like?”
I replied; “No, but you are one of us, Welsh like.”
That is the history we in Wales should teach, acceptance, community and love.

Eifion
Eifion
21 days ago

But, the crazy situation is that Welsh history isn’t mandatory!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
21 days ago
Reply to  Eifion

Yes, it is totally unbelievable !

Every history dept in every University in Wales should be kicking up a fuss esp Aberystwyth and Bangor.

What is also annoying is that BBC Wales has not covered Will Renwick’s amazing run over the 189 peaks in Wales for the charity Mind Over Mountains

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
21 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

You can follow Will on Race Tracker right now…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
21 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

It looks like Will is refuelling in Pete’s Eats Cafe in Llanberis at the moment…give him a few quid, you can donate on line…

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
21 days ago

Surely they should be making proper Welsh history mandatory first? This would include include ethnic minorities in Wales. Or would that be considered too much of a risk to the union?

Last edited 21 days ago by Huw Davies
Elfyn
Elfyn
21 days ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

Careful, Huw; careful!

We can’t mention the fact that London’s pushing such agendas works against Welsh sovereignty over the longer term, and is in fact a form of unionism. And we certainly can’t expect goody two-shoes Welsh nationalists to see it this way.

Welsh history will have to wither away or be condemned of racist anti-BAME reaction.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
21 days ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

I don’t know much other than Welsh history began in 1980 with the publication of the first in the OUP series on Welsh History, it didn’t exist when I was in school. What I have found about the present history curriculum states; Learners aged 7–14 should be given opportunities to develop and apply their knowledge and understanding of the cultural, economic, environmental, historical and linguistic characteristics of Wales. Learners aged 14–19 should have opportunities for active engagement in understanding the political, social, economic and cultural aspects of Wales as part of the world as a whole. That seems to allow… Read more »

Last edited 21 days ago by Kerry Davies
Huw Davies
Huw Davies
20 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

The daft thing is that Welsh history before the Normans was entwined with English history. Hywel Dda got on well with Alfred the Great. In the 1958 film classic The Vikings (Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis) the plot involved the kidnapping and ransoming of Rhodri Mawr’s daughter. Admittedly Ernest Borgnine’s viking ruler called him Road Ray of Wales but it shows even Hollywood was more aware of early Welsh rulers than most of us Welsh! The closest I got to Welsh history in school was The Tudors and Shakespeare’s Henry V. Did manage to read some Twm Sion Cati cartoon… Read more »

Last edited 20 days ago by Huw Davies
Tabor
Tabor
21 days ago

Ia wir ond hanes Cymru gynta cytuno hefor syniad fod Hanes Pawb yn bwysig a fod Pawb yn gyfartal ,ond yn Cymru da ni’n byw ac Mae Dylan Thomas yn bwysicach na Shakespeare?.m

hdavies15
hdavies15
21 days ago

Would find it very easy to support and applaud this move if it wasn’t for the very obvious anti-Welsh drift of those driving this initiative. The overarching goal of ignoring any attempt to teach our roots is a key part of an assimilation ( or elimination) strategy. The Big Sais knows that most immigrants who arrive from other parts of the globe aspire to be “good Saeson” so they are thrown a little bone to join in the merry game of snuffing out the Welsh identity. What we now need is for Welsh speaking BAME people to kick up a… Read more »

Ystrad Rhondda
Ystrad Rhondda
21 days ago

Recently, I asked my partner’s grandchildren (aged 13 and 11 living in Pontypool) if they’d heard of Owain Glyndwr. They replied no, who’s he? I immediately asked if they’d heard of Henry VIII, oh yes, they enthusiastically replied, we’ve done loads on him. Henry VIII arguably one of the biggest criminals in British history compared to a Welshman who is typically labelled a rebel leader. We need to get our own history recorded and shared accurately as a matter of urgency.

George
George
21 days ago

Wales is stronger as a welcoming country which is proud of its identity and wants to be best version of itself. If one can make the argument that we study history to understand who we were and where we’re going then the times Wales (and others) kept a welcome in the hillsides and the times Wales (and others) didn’t is the most important aspect of history. Let’s be proud to be first UK nation to offer this.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
20 days ago
Reply to  George

No-one’s trying to brush aside the contribution that ethnic minorities have made to Butetown, but, firstly, contrary to what you say, being the only UK member-country to welcome people from overseas isn’t the most important aspect of Welsh history, however laudible, and secondly, you will have noticed that Welsh national history is not on the menu in the History curriculum in Welsh schools. There will be plenty of room to include an ethnic-minority component in a curriculum that actually teaches Welsh children the history of their country.

Phil
Phil
21 days ago

They’d better get a move on or there’ll be no relevant statues left standing or not covered up

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
20 days ago

This is good, Wales needs to be a welcoming, equal and open country, the complete opposite to the nation the Tories are currently building. Our own Welsh history also needs to be taught far more comprehensively too.

Tyson Taylor
Tyson Taylor
20 days ago

I think that context is everything and teaching exclusively BME at the expense of Welsh history as a whole offers only but one aspect of Welsh history. A big reason that independence has so much apathy in some quarters is precisely because we as a nation do not know our own history. There are those who know nothing of Hywel Dda (and whose laws enshrined equality), Owain Glyndwr, Llewelyn the Last nor how the patrons of Welsh culture essentially abandoned their own culture and adopted the customs of English society and by extension forged their role in the formation of… Read more »

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