Decolonising education

In December 2019, the NEU held an inaugural decolonising education national conference.  With over 200 attendees the event was a resounding success bringing together educators, academics, policy writers, young people and creatives to share and learn together.

Since that time, Covid19 and the global Black Lives Matter protests prompted by the killing of George Floyd have taken over the headlines and the goal of decolonising education has become even more urgent. This report aims to share the key learning from the conference.

Since the conference we have published the Anti-Racist Framework for schools and colleges which is also below and a KS3 pack for teachers as well as podcasts to be released monthly with ideas and resources for teaching Black History all year round.  A pack for primary schools is also in progress. 

NEU calls on Government to make changes

NEU letter to PM with 5 demands to address racism
We've written to the Government asking them to respond to the racism highlighted and explored by the Black Lives Matters campaign. We must engage in real evaluation and commit to making urgent progress within the education system, so that education responds to and challenges the racism faced by children in their lives.

We're calling on the Government to:-

  • Provide immediate advice to employers in the education sector about the racial disparities in the pandemic in order to minimise risks to the wellbeing and safety of Black workers and the communities in which they live, work and travel
  • Review the curriculum to ensure it embraces the fact that Britain is rooted in Black and global history, achievement and culture and includes the achievements of Black Britons; as recommended by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.
  • Commit to review Initial Teacher Training to equip all trainee teachers with anti-racist strategies and tools, for the benefit of all students.
  • Adopt a strategy to make the pipeline of new entrants to the teaching profession significantly more diverse over the next four years. 
  • Learn from the Windrush Review and develop a plan to teach about the history of the UK and its relationship to the rest of the world – including Britain's colonial history and the history of migration. 

Black History Month

Exploring how Black history matters throughout the year

The NEU wants the DfE to overhaul the curriculum to include Black histories and national and global stories of Black culture and achievement. Benefiting every pupil, this would counter race inequality and contribute to creating a sense of place and belonging for Black students in all phases.

The NEU also works to support members to include Black history, culture and achievement, in Black History Month, and across the year, each year and for every age group. 

This October, we've commissioned a Black History month teaching pack for key stage 3-4, which can be adapted for other age groups. The pack contains timelines and reflections on Black history and activism with a particular element for Arts and Culture. There are also some great suggestions for classroom activities and links to relevant videos.

Research to Reflect On

Read and share this research summary about how to develop a culturally responsive pedagogy. Talk with members in your school about Aminul Hoque's ideas.

Anti-racism framework and user guide

This framework and user guide have been designed to help you explore ideas around race equality and plan how to tackle racism with children, young people and staff.

Black Manifesto

Podcasts which inspire us to learn and unlearn. Listen and share these monthly podcasts which will feature conversations with pioneering Black women within the arts and culture sector. 

Black Manifesto brings together voices of Black women from around the world as a collective conversation, making the invisible visible and addressing how we work to reshape a new world in which Black women are seen and heard, and a resource for inspiring creativity, learning and unlearning. Each of the ten guests will offer their interpretation and insights.   

Press on race and racism

  • Press release press release abstract
    Black Lives Matter

    Urgent action is needed to address widespread stereotyping, discrimination and the fear and violence caused by racism.

  • Press release Graphic of Coronavirus for general pages
    NEU statement on the killing of George Floyd

    The NEU sends its solidarity to the family and friends mourning George Floyd. We condemn the systemic racism that caused George's death and we support the urgent demands for justice for George Floyd, for his family and his community.

Blogs on race and racism

  • Blog statue of Martin Luther King
    Racism and poverty

    On Martin Luther King Day, the NEU wants to make the links between poverty and racism better understood.

  • Blog Windrush
    The Empire Windrush

    22 June 1948 ‘Citizens of the British empire’. Britain’s schizophrenic approach to migrants continues to this day. Rodeane Henry-Grant on Windrush.

  • Stephen Lawrence memorial
    NEU tribute to Stephen Lawrence

    The NEU is particularly concerned that the disproportionate emphasis on Black young people as perpetrators rather than as victims of knife crime and that the misnomer of ‘Black on Black’ crime is hiding the facts and continuing the narrative of blaming the victims.

Resources on race and racism