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Black History Month 2021

Black History Month 2021

As you probably know, October is Black History Month (BHM) in the UK. We want to let you know what we will be doing to mark BHM at Hanover, and also to update you on the work we’ve been doing towards becoming an anti-racist school.

Firstly, it’s worth saying that we believe that in an ideal world there would be no Black History Month. Black history is all our history, and as such it should be woven through all our teaching all through the year. We are not interested in having a single month of tokenistic ‘inclusive’ activities. However, we are not living in an ideal world (yet!) and it remains the case that racial discrimination and injustice permeate all aspects of our society. It is also the case that the National Curriculum for primary history is heavily focused on pre-1066 British and European history. This means that we to adapt our curriculum to ensure that our pupils of colour can feel included and represented. Therefore we have taken the following steps:

Curriculum

  • We redesigned our curriculum in 2019 and it is constantly under review as we refine and review the content that is relevant to our community. While ensuring coverage of the history National Curriculum, we have also:
  • built in three units of work (from Y2 up to Y6) on aspects of migration that have diversified the British population over many centuries;
  • ensured that we take opportunities to celebrate achievements of people from a full range of backgrounds; brought current and historic racial discrimination to the children’s attention so it can be considered, discussed and challenged.

Our Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum includes a unit on ‘Identity, Society and Equality’, where children from Y1-6 consider topics such as ‘me and others’ (Y1), ‘celebrating difference’ (Y3) and ‘stereotypes, discrimination and prejudice’ (Y5). Our recently-restocked library has possibly the best range of books in the borough, with purchasing focused on ensuring all children at Hanover find themselves represented on the pages of the books they read.

Staff Development

We have invested in staff training in racial literacy – to give us the knowledge and language to be able to talk confidently about race with children; unconscious bias – so we can guard against stereotypes and unhelpful habits of mind; and on cultural competency – so we can understand what we need to do to be a truly ‘anti-racist’ school. All members of staff have participated in this training and found it to be sometimes uncomfortable, but always informative and incredibly useful. This work is already having a significant impact on how we plan and teach.

Black History Month 2021

This October, children will be continuing with their current topics and interests. In addition, we are preparing a range of activities and discussions to prompt the children to consider the purpose of BHM, understand historic and modern examples of the ongoing fight against injustice, and know about and celebrate the full range of achievements of Black people in the UK and further afield. Ailsa’s music lessons will also be planned around these themes.

Three new video assemblies for Y2 up are being made, with opportunities for classes to discuss and develop their ideas in response. These will be shared on Google Classroom. We are also making available previously-made assemblies cover topics around race, including some suitable for children in the Lower School; you can see these here. Some parents have told us that these have been helpful to support them when discussing issues around race with their young children.

Children in Nursery, Reception and Y1 will be reading specially-chosen books and videos to help them understand aspects of their own and others’ identity, and to recognise and celebrate their differences. Year 2’s topis is ‘How did we get here?’ which will be looking at migration in our family histories, and will focus after half term on figures from the Windrush generation. Classes from Y3-6 will be researching the life stories of significant Black figures in British history, and presenting their learning to their peers. We will be sharing all the learning from BHM with you on Instagram and Google Classroom, so do keep your eyes open for that.

The Hanover Community
We are always interested in finding ways to involve and learn from our community. If you have any thoughts or ideas about BHM; if you have a migration story in your family history that might be of interest; or if you’d like to share aspects of your home culture with your child’s class, please do let us know by emailing admin@hanover.islington.sch.uk with ‘BHM’ in the subject line.