Birmingham City's Troy Deeney calls for national curriculum to include black and minority topics

Troy Deeney commissioned a report into the lack of black, Asian and ethnic minority history in the national curriculum

Birmingham City footballer Troy Deeney has written an open letter to the Government andlaunched a petition calling for the history and experiences of black, Asian andethnic minorities to be made mandatory in the national curriculum.

The Birmingham City captain believes the current curriculum is failing children from ethnic minorities, and commissioned a YouGov survey which found the majority of British teachers think the school system has a racial bias and only 12% said they feel empowered to teach diverse topics.

His open letter to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi included details of his own struggles in school where he was expelled at the age of 15 and told by one teacher he would die before his 26th birthday.

Troy Deeney has written an open letter to the government Credit: PA Images

Deeney, who has been a professional footballer for the last 15 years, has been encouraged by the Welsh Government, which will have a new curriculum framework in place from September where the stories of black, Asian and ethnic minority people will be taught."I believe the current system is failing children from ethnic minorities," he said in his open letter."I've found I'm not the only one to feel strongly about this subject - over the past 18 months or so, nearly 400,000 people have signed petitions calling for changes to be made to mandate more diversity on to the national curriculum and numerous debates have been conducted in Parliament."Yet the teaching of black, Asian and ethnic minority histories and experience in schools still remains optional and your Government's stock response has been that the topics are already there and it is down to teachers and schools to teach them."Mr Zahawi, I urge you - as Secretary of State for Education - to review this topic again and make the teaching of black, Asian and minority ethnic histories and experiences mandatory throughout the school curriculum."The Education Secretary has applauded the efforts of teachers who were using more diverse text in classes but insisted he was against "pushing any sort of agenda on children" with regard to topics such as Black Lives Matter, which was responsible for a number of solidarity protests in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd's murder in the United States.Only last week Mr Zahawi was behind guidance published by the Government on political impartiality in schools which added that campaign groups such as Black Lives Matter may cover "partisan political views".

Troy Deeney has commissioned a YouGov report Credit: PA Images

Deeney added: "Nearly two years on from the death of George Floyd and the tidal wave of outrage that followed, an eerie quiet seems to have descended on national cultural debate, the issues raised have receded from the news agenda, and, if we are to believe the conclusions of the Sewell Report, the UK does not have a systemic problem with racism at all.

"Yet in that time both myself and my family have continued to experience vile racist abuse on social media and, at times, in public, emboldening me even further to use my platform to keep the conversation at the forefront of people's minds, campaign for change and not to let this movement and its momentum just fade away.""The importance of education at an early age to inform identity and combat racist beliefs and stereotypes cannot be understated."

Earlier this month, Deeney commissioned a YouGov survey which found that 54% of 1,107 teachers polled said they believe the national curriculum has a racial basis, and 72% think the Government should do more to support the teaching of cultural diversity.

Among the ethnic minority teachers surveyed, 93% said they think there is a racial bias in the current school system.

Deeney has launched a petition which could see the issue debated in Parliament if it reaches 100,000 signatures.