Reflecting on Black History Month

News article from November 11, 2022

Last month, we honoured Black History Month with a group session, organised as part of our ongoing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) work here at School-Home Support.

Our staff had the opportunity to engage with the historical and present day contributions and achievements of Black people to Britain.

Tasmin Gyamfi, our Safeguarding Support Officer, facilitated the session, sharing with us the significance of Black History Month as a time to celebrate key Black British historical figures, as well as a time to ask important questions about the ways we engage with Black history all year round.

“This month really highlights the importance of engaging with Black history, and thinking critically about it – we shouldn’t necessarily just accept what is taught. It is essential that today’s young people are taught about their culture and history, and that the contributions of Black people to British society are properly understood.”

Renee, one of our family support practitioners, reflected on the teaching of Black history in schools today, and the problems of falling back on the same narratives each time Black History Month comes around.

“I have a 15 year old son, and every time its October he comes home and says ‘Oh mom, we’ve got to stay here and learn the same things about the same people, and its always fixed on slavery.’ And he’s right, we were people before slavery, and we’ve been people after slavery, and when amazing Black historical figures aren’t brought up, like inventors or scientists, or the great kings and queens, kids become disengaged during this month. Especially young black people, because they know it is going to be the same script and the same story.”

Reflecting on the discussions in the session, other staff shared their thoughts:

“Black history should be as much about celebrating historical (and present day) achievements as it should be about understanding historical injustices.”

“Black History month should be about more than just saying ‘let’s do one month of black history.’ It should be incorporated in the curriculum, full stop, not just in October.”

“This session has been really powerful and emotive, because it has made me question the way some lessons on Black History are taught, and the consequences of this for children and young people.”

Raising awareness and providing networking and learning opportunities are key to embedding the principles of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) across all strands of School-Home Support’s work. Learn more about our organisational commitment to EDI by reading our School-Home Support Diversity Statement here.

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