Pupils in Wales have 'little knowledge' of diverse and Welsh history, Estyn report finds

More needs to be done to improve the teaching of diverse and Welsh history and culture in schools across Wales, according to a new report.

The review, by education inspectorate Estyn, found that the majority of pupils in Wales have "little knowledge" of historical events that have shaped their local area and "do not make connections" between individuals and events in Welsh history and world history.

The report pointed out that although many pupils can name individuals from global history, in general they have "limited understanding" of their historical significance.

Most pupils do not know about the history of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals and communities, including their contributions to Wales, it added.

However, the findings revealed that pupils were keen to learn about these subjects when given the opportunity.

Youngsters enjoyed studying individuals including John Ystumllyn, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman and Nelson Mandela.

Welsh events such as Tryweryn, Cilmeri and the Rebecca Riots were highlighted as being of interest to pupils.

Estyn said the teaching of Welsh history and culture has been "the focus of intense debate", both before and since the establishment of the national curriculum in 1988.

It added that the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement have "brought renewed focus" on anti-racism education and the teaching of BAME history and culture in schools since summer 2020.

The Black Lives Matter movement has renewed the focus on anti-racism education. Credit: PA Images

The report said schools should provide more opportunities for pupils to learn about diverse history and culture, including how different communities have contributed to Wales and the world.

Wales is set to become the first UK nation to make teaching of BAME histories and experiences mandatory in the school curriculum.

The new curriculum, due to be taught to younger learners from 2022, will look at contributions made by diverse communities in Wales, past and present.

Estyn's chief inspector Claire Morgan said: "The Black Lives Matter movement renewed focus on anti-racism education and the teaching of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic history and culture.

"Our review looks at how diversity is taught in schools in Wales. Despite school leaders recognising the opportunities that the new curriculum for Wales presents, it's clear that more needs to be done to ensure that teaching and learning represents all of Wales' communities and their international connections.

"We recommend that Welsh Government and local authorities provide more support to help schools develop training and resources to create a curriculum that reflects the culture, environment and history of Wales."

The report also recommends that teachers would benefit from more professional learning opportunities on teaching diversity, anti-racism and ethnic minority culture and history within Wales.