Another incredibly busy week for all, with more primary schools opening wider to welcome Years R, 1 and 6, further announcements by the government about the rest of the summer term and the implications for September; and importantly the Black Lives Matters campaign where schools and young people have been raising awareness in the call to end institutional racism in recognising that every country is different and has its own personal relationship to these issues.

I remember being in a room with head teacher colleagues back in 1999, listening to Stephen Lawrence’s parents talk about their son, the racially motivated murder and the need for change in the education curriculum, which was followed up with the publication of the Macpherson report recommending the need for a national curriculum which reflected our diverse population. Pondering soberly, one could strongly argue that there has been insufficient progress and change over the last 20 years!

Experts may suggest that there are opportunities in History and English curricula to study Black history and black British writers, however it was never mandatory and potentially viewed as insignificant. At our School Led Improvement Group this week, we had an extended and honest discussion about how young people in our schools are feeling, this is also reflected in our school staff, many of whom joined the BLM protests last weekend and are passionate and determined to do something constructive to challenge the systemic divide.

Interestingly this week I have learned more about The Black Curriculum, which is a social enterprise, led by the impressive Lavinya Syennett, working to promote and support the teaching of black history all year round, not just in October! Please find the link to a paper that they produced to highlight the need for their work: The Black Curriculum report 2020.

The Black Curriculum which aims to be largely arts based, has been designed for 8-16 year olds to develop a sense of identity and belonging amongst young people. The syllabus has 12 topics including art, history, politics and migration, which seeks to redress the predominantly Eurocentric perspective of the National curriculum. The aims of The Black Curriculum are clear: To improve a sense of identity and belonging, raise attainment and improve social cohesion. Interestingly Acland Burghley School are exploring further work with The Black Curriculum and developing an ethos and methodology to implement longer term plans around four areas; staff training and their needs, student’s curriculum experience, working with families and developing partnerships to compliment the ethos and learning. It feels like the right time to locally explore what we can do differently in Camden. It has been terrific receiving various resources and links from schools to BLM, so please do continue to send them through as we collate a reference bank to share with all schools.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director of Camden Learning

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