"we must ensure children’s experiences are expanded"
Wales is set to become the first country in the UK to teach pupils about Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) history.
This is due to come into force in 2022.
The introduction came after Plaid Cymru called on Welsh history, including the history of BAME and LGBT people, to be included in a bill over the new curriculum.
The party were concerned that these topics would likely not be taught consistently across Wales if they were not made a mandatory part of the curriculum.
In a BAME education report, it included calls for every pupil to “explore the diverse experiences and contributions” of BAME people in Wales.
The Labour-led government said £500,000 would be put towards supporting the development of resources on BAME communities and their histories and improving training and development for teachers on these subjects.
It was recommended that the new curriculum is evaluated for its teaching of themes relating to BAME communities and experiences across its entirety.
Professor Charlotte Williams OBE said in the report’s foreword:
“Every child and young person in Wales has the right to have their knowledge base and experiences expanded through engagement with ethnic minority perspectives, themes and contributions and in all disciplines across the new curriculum.
“The curriculum can only be enriched by revealing the diversity of perspectives and contributions made by the ethnic minority communities to the development of Wales across its history and in the present.”
Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat education minister said:
“If we are to achieve one of the core purposes of our new curriculum, to develop young people who are ‘ethical and informed citizens of Wales and the world’, we must ensure children’s experiences are expanded through engagement with ethnic minority perspectives, themes and contributions.”
Professor Williams stated that the Welsh report “maps a way” for how “the diverse experiences and contributions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic peoples in Wales is made integral” to the country’s new curriculum.
It also implied that school governing bodies should consider having a “diversity champion” and a whole-school approach is taken to “anti-racist professional learning”.
The report also looks at enhancing resources to schools when it comes to teaching BAME histories and experiences.
“The available resources are limited and disproportionately focused on slavery, colonialism and empire.”
“These matters are critically important and should be covered within the curriculum but the lack of attention to the inclusion of other significant themes and contributions relating to the experiences of ethnic minority communities suggests an imbalance in the curriculum.”
The new curriculum provides “significant opportunities” for schools to explore different aspects of BAME experiences and contributions.
The report continues: “At the same time, without a full list of prescribed topics in the new Curriculum for Wales and the autonomy of schools in designing their own curricula within a national framework, there is a risk these themes continue to be ignored or marginalised.
“While learning about diversity, identity and belonging, justice and equality, rights and social action will be mandatory in schools’ curricula, there is no statutory requirement to teach specific topics of central understanding to the histories of racism and diversity, such as the histories of Slavery, Empire, or the Holocaust. This is of concern.”
Sian Gwenllian, Plaid Cymru’s education spokesperson added:
“If implemented properly they can play a significant part in getting rid of racism.”