Ash Denham MSP last week wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills to ask for the teaching of black history to be a mandatory part of the school curriculum.

The full letter reads:

Dear Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills,

I am writing to request that the Scottish Government considers including the teaching of black history, including Scotland and the UK’s links to the slave trade, in our schools’ national curriculum.

This is something constituents have contacted me seeking support for, and I share their desire to see Scotland’s school children taught these subjects at both primary and high school levels.

At present, as I understand it, school children are only taught about slavery as part of social sciences in their second year of high school. I believe this needs to change.

This would include the teaching of Scotland and the UK’s role in the slavery trade, where we should not shy away from informing our children about all aspects of the past. History shouldn’t only includes the elements we are proud of.

It has been encouraging to see so many schools across Scotland promote Black History Month each October, but it’s not enough to do it just one month of the year.

And the history of other ethnic minorities should also be taught in addition to black history.

Changing the way Scottish schools promote black history and other ethnic minorities on its own will not lead to the elimination of racism in our society, but it would be another important step in reaching that goal.

The killing of George Floyd in the United States has sparked an outcry from not just black people, but from people of all skin colours, who are shouting louder than ever that more needs to be done to ensure black lives matter.

We have taken important steps to eradicate racism in Scotland thanks to the Scottish Government Equality Unit which provided over £2.6m for the period 2019-20 to advance race equality in Scotland, as well as the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill which was introduced to parliament in April this year.

But I believe more needs to be done and that the mandatory teaching of the history of black people and other ethnic minorities to our school children would be another important step.

Yours sincerely,

Ash Denham MSP

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