Aimed at school-teachers, leaders, support staff and young people, this ground-breaking conference starts a much-needed conversation in the UK on how to bring a decolonising education approach into primary and secondary schools to ensure all pupils have access to a truly broad, balanced and inclusive education.
Black* writers make up less than 5% of many GCSE and A level reading lists. A school in Kent attempted to teach about slavery by requiring students to role-play slave auctions. Black Caribbean, multiple heritage and Roma and Traveller heritage pupils are permanently excluded at nearly 3 times the rate of white pupils. Black, particularly Sikh and Muslim, children are more likely to be targeted by uniform and appearance polices. Less than 10% of schoolteachers in the UK are Black.
An education system that does not reflect Black children’s’ histories, achievements, culture and politics deprives Black children of a relevant education and in some cases, of an education altogether. The current system also deprives white children of access to anhonest, broad and balanced education. All children deserve to see themselves reflected in their books, schools and communities and to achieve this we must create change.
From curriculum to routines to classroom layout, our education system has been shaped by colonisation and neo-liberalism. Decolonising education invites us to engage with this context and history and look for alternatives that will create a more equal and inclusive education system and resulting society.
To date, the decolonising education conversation in the UK has centred around higher education. There are many schoolteachers and headteachers working to decolonise their classroom/ subject area/ school, but they are isolated, underrepresented in management structures and uncelebrated. This conference is an invitation to come together, to share knowledge and to be part of a movement for change.