Black History Month: Wales to become first UK nation to make BAME history in schools mandatory

Credit: PA

Wales is set to become the first UK nation to make teaching of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) histories and experiences mandatory in the school curriculum.

The Welsh Government has added learning about the diversity of communities, in particular the stories of black, Asian and minority ethnic people, into the new Curriculum for Wales guidance.

The guidance is subject to a final sign-off by the Senedd next month, but the announcement coincides with the start of Black History Month.

The new curriculum framework is due to be introduced from September 2022, following years of work by teachers and other education professionals in its development.

Education minister Jeremy Miles. Credit: Welsh Government

The curriculum will include six areas of learning, which involves mandatory elements known as “Statements of What Matters”.

Last year, a working group led by Professor Charlotte Williams was formed to improve teaching on black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The group’s work is being supported through £500,000 from the Welsh Government.

Education minister Jeremy Miles said: “It is vitally important that our education system equips our young people to understand and respect their own and each other’s histories, cultures and traditions.

“Today’s announcement will help enrich the new curriculum, and therefore teaching in Wales, for years to come.

“The new Curriculum for Wales will empower teachers and education settings to design lessons to inspire their learners to become ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world.

“If we are to progress as a society, we must create an education system which broadens our understanding and knowledge of the many cultures which have built Wales’s, and the world’s, past and present.”

The announcement coincides with the beginning of Black History Month. Credit: PA

The announcement was welcomed by trade unions.

Mike Payne, GMB senior organiser, said: “It’s excellent news that this part of Welsh history is finally being recognised and put on the curriculum.

“From trades unions to rugby union, black, Asian and ethnic minority people have made an immense contribution to Wales and made us into the great country we are today.

“The story of Wales is the story of its people, and GMB is pleased that BAME voices and experiences are finally being recognised and taught on the curriculum.”

Kerina Hanson, president of school leaders’ union NAHT Cymru, said: “Curriculum for Wales 2022 offers schools a unique opportunity, not only to create a bespoke curriculum unique to the context of the school, but also to address the wider context.

“The focus on the ‘four purposes’, including the teaching of black, Asian and minority ethnic histories and experiences, ensures the development of our children and young people as ethical, informed citizens who are well prepared for the future.

“This can only support the future realisation of Wales as an equitable society.”