I’ve had a variety of conversations with teachers and schools over the last few weeks about history teaching in independent schools and the letters institutions have had from former students. Some of the letters detail horrific stories or racism and the lack of education around issues of ‘race’ and racism in the history curriculum. As I seem to be repeating myself, I’ve boiled down the advice into the points below. As usual, they are not exhaustive or universal, but they will help.
1. Read the Royal Historical Society report on Race, Ethnicity & Equality. It is surprising that almost after two years of publication, history departments in independent schools have not read it. You could read it as a department or in conjunction with other departments such as English and RS and use it as a basis for discussion at a departmental meeting. The report asks a number of questions and one variation that I use in my discussions is to ask how many A-Level students go on to study the subject at university. I then ask for how minority ethnic students within that cohort go on to study the subject at university. The answer is usually silence. This should be an internal Key Performance Indicator (KPI) if it is not already to help you monitor the work of the department.