The TIDE Project (University of Liverpool) and the leading race equality think tank, The Runnymede Trust, have today published a report calling on the government to make the teaching of migration, belonging, and Empire, mandatory in secondary schools, and to provide teachers with the practical support and resources necessary to equip them to teach these topics sensitively and effectively.
The National Curriculum explicitly calls for pupils to be taught ‘tolerance’, as part of the British values agenda. It calls for young people to understand their own and others’ cultures ‘as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain’, in which ‘they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity’. Teaching the long, diverse, often-fraught history of migration, belonging, and empire would help to achieve this. To adequately prepare students to be tolerant, confident citizens, these topics must be understood as integral both to our history and to the richness of British culture. All children and young people need to feel a sense of belonging, and understand their identities. Migration and empire are not marginal events, neither are they of interest only to specific communities within British society. They are central to a shared national story, and as it stands, the story we are telling is incomplete.
The report Teaching Migration, Belonging, and Empire in Secondary Schools, is based on extensive discussions with teachers, exam boards, and educators, and draws on TIDE and Runnymede's innovative 12-week TIDE Beacon Fellowship programme to support secondary school teachers actively engaged in teaching migration, belonging, and empire.
The full report is now available here. It explains why teaching migration, belonging, and empire matters. It outlines what is currently available on the curriculum and what is missing. It assesses the barriers teachers face in grappling with sensitive topics. Finally, it gives recommendations for change so that we can address the gaps in the curriculum for the benefit of students of all backgrounds.
Dawn Butler MP, is hosting and chairing a panel discussion in Parliament on Thursday, July 4 on the findings of the TIDE-Runnymede report and how the teaching of migration and Empire can be expanded and improved in schools.