Stephanie Pitter, a former teaching assistant, school governor and mum of four, started the Black History in Schools (BHIS) campaign in a bid to include Black History as a mandatory element of the national curriculum for Primary education in the UK.
We believe the inclusion of Black History as a mandatory element in primary curriculum will enrich the development of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural needs of all ethnic groups.
After two years of gathering signatures on foot until 12,000 signatures had been obtained, the campaign was re-launched as an online petition or e-petition. The e-petition ended on 10th February 2015 with over 43,800 signatures received. 100,000 signatures were required before the e-petition could be debated in the House of Commons.
Whilst the inclusion of Black History in primary education will never stamp out racism, it will help children with a black or ethnic minority cultural background realise where they come from and where they are going. It will also help children from other backgrounds understand each other’s culture.
We do not believe Black History should just be about slavery or the abolition of slavery, Martin Luther King Jr, or Mary Seacole. These were major events in black history, but so much more has gone unnoticed, especially in relation to Black British History.
The abolition of the slave trade was added to secondary school education in 2008. This campaign believes primary school age is a more appropriate age for children to get a sense of their history and possibilities. Especially when books with colourful references to black people including the ‘n-word’ are currently part of the English Curriculum and are often read out of context.
Schools do have Black History Month which is the focus of most of the discussion, but this is not mandatory, so it is therefore not celebrated by all schools. This campaign focuses on the inclusion of Black History as a mandatory part of the national curriculum.
There are some who believe that parents and churches should be the only teachers of our history, but why should black history be side-lined in mainstream education?
Black history has contributed to the development of the society that we live in today whether that be economics, literature, poetry, medicine, commerce or music and art, therefore it should be included as part of the history that ‘our’ children are taught. Most parents who went to school in the UK have never been taught black history or read about it. This does not replace parents teaching their own kids, but who will teach the kids whose parents do not have the time, knowledge, skills or interest. Those kids are the ones who struggle to see value in the history, who do not know of the positive relevant examples history would have taught them.
This is not just a ‘black’ issue therefore we are looking for cross-cultural support for this campaign to include black history in the primary school curriculum.
Sign the petition if you believe that black history can be inspiring to ALL CHILDREN and not just black children, that’s why it needs to be taught in schools.
Sign the petition if you believe that black history should not be segregated into one month, i.e. Black History Month, but integrated into the curriculum.
Sign if you believe Britain in a multicultural society and education should reflect that.
Sign if you have mixed children and you want them to know more about both of their heritages.
Sign if you are proud of ‘black’ history and think it is ‘world’ history.
Don’t sign if you are happy with things as they are and see no need for change or improvement.