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Teachers to be given more resources to teach Welsh history ‘in all its diversity and complexity’

22 Jun 2022 4 minute read
Charlotte Williams pictured in Adelaide, South Australia. Picture: Naomi Jellicoe

Welsh history “in all its diversity and complexity” will be taught in Wales from September this year, according to a progress report on strengthening teaching of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities’ histories in Wales.

The report by the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group says that they recommended the development of a “new suite” of resources that could be used to teach the subject.

In July 2020, the Welsh Government appointed Professor Charlotte Williams OBE to chair the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group. The group published its final report in March 2021, and today has published its second.

“The development of a new suite of bilingual professional development resources that provide a detailed exploration of diversity in Wales in the past and present was recommended to support teachers to include the contributions of ethnic minority communities across all areas in the curriculum,” the report says.

The change to the curriculum will “mean that the study of Welsh history in all its diversity and complexity is both explicit and compulsory for schools and settings in Wales from September 2022.

“This is not about compartmentalising Wales and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories into one part of the curriculum; it is about embedding an understanding of Wales, its culture and histories across learning in all areas.”

The book History Grounded, by Dr Elin Jones, has already been distributed to schools

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “My vision is that through our new Curriculum all young people will understand how our unique history, language and culture, in all their diversity, have shaped the proud nation Wales is today.

“I am pleased that we’ve made strong progress, with a number of the original report’s recommendations already implemented. However, we still have work to do to ensure the education system in Wales reflects the experiences of the whole of Wales, past and present.

“I am hugely grateful for the ongoing support we have received from Professor Charlotte Williams OBE, who continues to play a pivotal role in supporting us to take forward this important work.”

‘Lasting change’

Today’s report sets out the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the previous report, with the aim of reinforcing the importance of teaching past and present experiences and contributions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities across Wales.

The report highlights the actions the Welsh Government has taken over the last year, including:

  • Making the learning of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories mandatory in the new Curriculum, to be rolled out from September;
  • Introducing new incentives to attract more people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds into teaching;
  • Introducing new learning materials to support teachers to teach Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories and contributions within the new Curriculum;
  • Supporting Cardiff Metropolitan University and the BAME Education Wales Network to set up the Diversity and Anti-Racism Professional Learning project, to provide a national model for professional learning for those working in education to develop an understanding and development of anti-racist practice;
  • Launching the new Betty Campbell MBE Professional Teaching Award to promote the work schools are doing to teach the importance of inclusion.

Professor Charlotte Williams OBE said: “We are at a crucial time for education in Wales, with the new curriculum being rolled out in schools from September.

“The new mandatory elements of the curriculum, in particular the teaching of the experiences and contributions of people from minority backgrounds, will broaden the education of every child in Wales, so that it better reflects the experiences of the whole population of Wales.

“Educating young people about the experiences and contributions of minority ethnic peoples in Wales, past and present, will assist in promoting lasting change aimed at tackling broader inequalities within society.

“The Working Group will continue to advise government and take forward action to ensure the continuity and sustainability of this work, with a focus on its positive impact on wider society.”


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Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
5 months ago

Welsh history should be inclusive of all of its contributors regardless of their ethnicity. It is great news that Welsh history is being taught in Welsh schools. However, something that is rarely mentioned or discussed is the question why Welsh history hasn’t been a mainstream part of the curriculum? Last year I asked my partner’s grandchildren (aged 10 and 13, attending school in Pontypool) if they’d heard of Owain Glyndwr, no they replied. Have you heard of Henry VIII? Yes, was their reply “we’ve done loads on him in school.” Back to my question why hasn’t Welsh history been a… Read more »

Arwyn
Arwyn
5 months ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

Clyw, clyw.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
5 months ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

Absolutely! I totally agree, all Welsh history should be taught, regardless of but inclusive of, ethnicity.
I once had a student from Blaenafon. Wow, I said and mentioned the town’s role in the industrial history of Wales, the march on Newport and of course Cordell’s classic novel.
My response was a blank face, with a sort of “which planet are you from” look.. What history did you study, I asked.
The American civil war and Hitler
‘Nuff said

CJPh
CJPh
5 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

There is still no guarantee that future Blaenafon students will have any idea of their local or national history, Dr. Ball. According to both this article and the various press releases surrounding the reformed education policies that will soon come into effect, the only guarentee is that BAME history specifically must be taught – an idea that should, as you suggest, be a part of “Welsh history must be taught”, given that BAME people in Wales are Welsh and so is their history. What is very worrying is that the details of the proposals, and much of the language employed,… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
5 months ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

Devolution is a process which began 22 years ago so why you blame Welsh Labour for a curriculum set for the majority of the past century by English Tories is anyone’s guess.
Curricular change is not to be rushed and takes school lifetimes to implement. Three year old’s saw the foundation phase introduced in 2010, and those children are still at school as the 2021 curriculum changes are introduced.
Youb may well have valid criticisms of Welsh Labour but you do your cause no good at all by inaccuracies.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
5 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

You’re missing something quite fundamental. Convenient though it might be to blame the Tories for the lack of Welsh history teaching (that’s quite a leap by the way), education and curriculum development was one of the original responsibilities devolved. The Labour government (in partnership for a great deal of that time with Plaid Cymru it should be remembered) has had twenty two years to ensure Welsh history is a core topic. It has not
One wonders why.

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
5 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

I’m not sure what you mean by inaccuracies. Are you saying that the British Labour Party in Wales through their control of most local authorities for the last 100 years have not influenced the school curriculum? In my opinion it is naive to think that Labour have supported the teaching of Welsh history. They’ve won every Westminster General election in Wales for the last 100 years. Are you saying there is nothing they nor the WJEC could have done to promote the teaching of Welsh history? My son was one of the first to go through a pilot of the… Read more »

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
5 months ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

(please scroll down for English) Sefydlwyd y Blaid Lafur Prydeinig ar 27ain Chwefror 1900; 122 o flynyddoedd yn ol – ac mae’n wir fod y Blaid Lafur yng Nghymru (ac eithrio ambell i unigolyn penderfynol a gwladgarol) wedi ffafrio ‘Prydeindod’ Eingl-ganolog ar draul Cymru ers hynny ond mae cwricwlwm ysgolion Cymru wedi bod yn Eingl-ganolog ymhell cyn hynny. ~ The British Labour Party was founded on 27th February; 122 years ago – and it is true that the Labour Party in Wales has (with the exception of a few determined and patriotic individuals) favoured Anglo-centric ‘Britishness’ to the detriment of Wales… Read more »

Kurt C
Kurt C
5 months ago

So sad our history has been repressed by English history and Imperial lies. Fantastic to see our culture return to the for front.

Tewdrig
Tewdrig
5 months ago

More non Welsh history to be taught, not really a change at all then.

CJPh
CJPh
5 months ago
Reply to  Tewdrig

I don’t think it’s fair at all to say that the history of ethnic minorities in Wales isn’t Welsh History. Is that what you’re suggesting here? If so, why don’t you think it is?

Last edited 5 months ago by CJPh
Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
5 months ago
Reply to  Tewdrig

If it happened in Wales and pertains to Wales, it IS Welsh history. The history of immigration into Wales, whether voluntary or forced, and the experiences of those people and their descendants IS Welsh History. Every bit as much as Edward I, Hywel Dda, Owain Glyndwr, the Chartists, Twm Sion Cati, Dic Penderyn, Princess Gwenllian and the like.
You don’t have to learn it if you don’t want to, but you would be choosing ignorance on parts of our nation’s history. History does not occur in isolation, no matter what the English History curriculum would have you believe.

Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
5 months ago
Reply to  Tewdrig

Would yuo deny Pythias the Greek? He was not Welsh, but he is the first historian recorded as having described pre-Roman Invasion. Britain as an island of mature kingdoms (not savage primitive tribes) trading with Northern Europe and the Mediterranean nations.
But he wasn’t Welsh, so is he to be excluded?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

Hanes Cymru BA is a fantastic historical banquet but if schools don’t provide the starter course how does one work up the appetite to enjoy it, let alone make the best of it…

Last edited 5 months ago by Mab Meirion
Harry Williamson
Harry Williamson
5 months ago

Every schoolchild should have an immersion in Welsh history at an early age. The examples cited by others are true. Teaching at a university I often encounter Welsh students with virtually zero knowledge of the history of their nation. I mentioned Dic Penderyn to one group of mostly Valleys youngsters – blank faces. Same when I tried to explain about Hywel Dda and the origins of the castles – bewilderment. The only thing I could get out of one session was that they knew a lot about Hitler. One student, hailing from the Rhondda, told me that Cymraeg was only… Read more »

DAI Ponty
DAI Ponty
5 months ago

Its like with the Welsh language they tried to stop it being spoken and Welsh Mytholigy we have every thing to do with England and the British sorry English empire rammed down our throats we have a Welsh football and Rugby team before i pop my glogs i love to see a WELSH team at the Olympics Wales sitting as its own country in the United Nations as a free prosperous nation not with the English boot on the Welsh throat

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