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Add education on diversity and racism to all school curriculums

Submitted by Cynthia Muthoni on Sunday 31st May 2020

Published on Wednesday 10th June 2020

Current status: Open

Open until: Thursday 10th December 2020

Current Signatures: 87,971
(count is updated approximately hourly)

Relevant Departments

Tagged with

Children ~ Diversity ~ Education ~ race and equality ~ racism ~ The Government

Petition Action

Add education on diversity and racism to all school curriculums

Petition Details

Racism is a problem that affects all members of society. It is important to deconstruct taught ideas of racism to children so they do not go on to become perpetuators or victims of racism. At the moment classes about racism and diversity are not mandatory and this should be changed.

Additional Information

The Government must acknowledge racism as a problem and address it. As racism is a taught behaviour it is important to directly address racism through education. The younger we teach and encourage anti-racist behaviour, the better prepared children will be to anticipate and correct these negative behaviours throughout their lives. Minority groups are disproportionately affected in many political issues. By dismantling racist constructs early on, we can combat these issues also.

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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Thursday 30th July 2020

Racism in all its forms is abhorrent and has no place in our society. Schools play a significant role in teaching children about the importance of respect and tolerance for all cultures.

Racism in all its forms is abhorrent and has no place in our society. Schools play a significant role in teaching children about the importance of having respect and tolerance for all cultures. We do not believe that education on diversity and racism needs to be added to all school curriculums as there is already flexibility in subject curriculums for teachers to choose topics which highlight diversity. There are also specific curriculum areas as set out below where teaching on diversity and racism can be explicitly included.

The Department for Education is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity and supports all pupils and students to tackle racism and have the knowledge and tools to do so. We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. We also want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. Schools are required to actively promote fundamental British values, including democracy as well as the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faith and beliefs.

We are also making Relationships Education compulsory for primary school pupils, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory for secondary school pupils and Health Education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools from September 2020. The statutory guidance sets out that as part of Relationships Education, all primary pupils will be taught the importance of respecting others, even when they are very different from them, or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs. Pupils will also be taught what a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive. This will be reinforced at secondary school when pupils will also learn about legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal.

Schools can also teach about racism in Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education and Citizenship Education where pupils can develop their understanding of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding. There is also flexibility within the history curriculum for teachers to teach about Black and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras, to support an understanding of the active role Black and minority ethnic people have played in history.

Department for Education

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/323808)

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