Teachers’ union NEU warns of classroom culture wars | History

A teachers’ union is forming a partnership with education experts to “critically interrogate” the government’s plans for a model history curriculum in England, as its leaders warned that culture wars continued to rage over what should be taught in classrooms.

Mary Bousted, a joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said it was joining with the Runnymede Trust and others to monitor the history curriculum changes the government has announced as part of its response to the Sewell report on race and ethnic disparities.

“We want to ensure that Black history, cultures and perspectives have proper recognition in all subjects and all year round. And this must center the perspectives of those who were colonized or their descendants, ”Bousted told delegates at the NEU’s annual conference in Bournemouth.

The Department for Education plans to develop a model history curriculum for use by schools by 2024, with the help of “experts, historians and school leaders”. Ministers have sought to reassure critics that the curriculum would be diverse in a “meaningful, rather than tokenistic” way.

Bousted said she had been “monstered” by the rightwing media and endured “gales of outrage” on social media after saying she was not interested in a curriculum solely composed of the works of dead white men.

“All of which shows me, personally, and us all, politically, that the culture wars rage and continue to rage and that they consume anyone who dares to challenge the narrow, monocultural base on which the current national curriculum, with all its assumptions on powerful knowledge is based, ”Bousted said.

The partnership with the Runnymede Trust and other education experts would “act as a point of critical interrogation” of the government’s planned changes, Bousted said.

At its annual conference the union’s delegates earlier passed motions calling for a campaign to decolonialize school curricula.

The UK Statistics Authority said it was investigating the DfE’s use of statistics in its schools white paper, after the NEU’s leaders announced the union had made a formal complaint.

Kevin Courtney, the NEU’s other joint general secretary, said the union had complained to the statistics watchdog “about this disgraceful, deliberate misuse of statistics and the deliberate suppression of relevant data” in the DfE’s documents to support its claim that converting local authority schools into academies improved their Ofsted grades.

Bousted pledged to defeat the government’s aim of all state schools in England being converted to academies by 2030, calling the white paper “the final thrashings of zombie education ideologues with zombie education policies”.

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