Curriculum Research Project

Project Summary

The Equal Rights Trust and BLAM (Black Learning Achievement and Mental Health) UK have developed a new initiative “Implementing the UK’s obligation to combat prejudices which lead to racial discrimination in education”.

The objective is to support organisations and movements working to decolonise the National Curriculum to make effective use of international and domestic law in their advocacy. The initiative will be delivered in three phases:

(1) evidence gathering on the gap in the National Curriculum and the link between this gap and patterns of racial prejudice and discrimination in England and building links between campaigners and equality lawyers 

(2) publication of evidence together with an expert legal opinion on the state’s obligations under Article 7 International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discriminiation (ICERD) read together with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) under s.149 Equality Act 2010, providing an evidence base in support of education campaigns and other awareness-raising efforts on curriculum reform

(3) supporting campaigners to use the evidence and legal opinion to engage duty

Bearers, such as the Department for Education, OFSTED, etc., on meeting their Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and to advocate directly and indirectly for reform

Phase 1 – Report 

How are omissions in the national curriculum affecting racial cohesion in the UK?

To answer this question and include views of all stake holders, the research has three strands and methods of data analysis – teacher focus groups, student workshops and parent/guardian surveys and focus groups.

Teacher Focus Groups

We are hosting a series of online focus groups from August – October 2021 to learn more about teachers’ experiences with the National Curriculum. Focus groups last 1 hour, are informal and confidential.* We cover topics such as Black narratives in the National Curriculum, learning resources, school policies and teacher training. 

Attendees of the teacher focus groups will be eligible to participate for free in BLAM UK anti-racism and Black narratives teacher consultation. This group consultation will assist teachers who wish to learn how to embed Black British cultural heritage and African and Afro-Caribbean histories into their everyday teaching. BLAM UK training can usually cost up to £1000.

If you are a teacher in the UK, we would love to hear from you! Please sign up here for the term time focus groups (3.45-4.45pm) or October half term focus groups (variety of times) – coming soon.  

If you are interested in the project but unable to make any of these times, please do get in touch and we will find a way of accommodating you. 

We will present the data and report findings at an online session for all participating teachers before the report is officially launched. 

Student Workshops

From September – December, the project team will be going into schools across the UK and hosting fun and creative workshops. The workshop will be made up of two elements. 

  1. The first part will entail a learning session where the team will present on a topic relating to Black history or culture. This ranges from history of Black civilisations to Black food and music.
  1. The second part will entail creative methods such as drawing, writing, acting and play as a prompt for children to reflect on their experiences with school learning resources and teaching methods.  We may put some of their work anonymously in the final report, which will be made available for children and their parents/guardians to see beforehand. No family or child will be identified by name. 

We will present the data and report findings at an online session for all participating teachers before the report is officially launched. 

Research with Parents/Guardians

We are also hosting a series of online surveys and focus groups to learn more around parents’ feelings about the curriculum and the impact that discrimination and the Eurocentric curriculum has on children’s educational experience. We are conducting a qualitative survey and hosting a limited number of online focus groups with parents. The survey will be distributed in early October and focus groups will be hosted soon after.

Project Team 

Jamila Thompson – Project Worker 

Jamila is a LSE and Birkbeck graduate with degrees in BSc (Hons) Sociology and MA Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity. She is a qualified Secondary school teacher of Sociology, History where she teaches History and Citizenship.

Previously, she has taught at a Supplementary School for African and Caribbean students in Brent and Harrow. Jamila is passionate about issues of “race” and racism, identity and belonging, and education. She believes Black British History is a fundamental and necessary addition to the British Curriculum. Jamila is a freelance writer, researcher and educator. She writes for her own platform Melanated Thoughts UK as well as having written for platforms such as Black Minds Matter UK.

Jamila is a PhD researcher in Sociology and hopes to create meaningful content about the nuances of the black experience.

Outside of education, activism and writing, Jamila is a keen reader, heavily into fitness, food (eating and cooking) and music.

Niya Namfua – Project Support Worker

Niya is an advocate for the mainstreaming of marginalised voices in education and learning. As a recent graduate, Niya spent her academic journey gaining experience in research, journalism, decolonizing initiatives, as well as in social media and communications. In her time at university, she was a core team member for several societies, working on creating spaces and platforms for marginalized voices. 

Outside the academic sphere, she has worked in impact consultancy and policy research. Niya recently completed her History and International Relations BA Hons at King’s College London. She believes it is crucial that the national curriculum provides a more inclusive narrative of British history, one that encourages students to think critically and question the information they are being provided with.

Niya enjoys film photography, art, music and sunflowers.  

Contact Us

For more information contact us here:

Blog Series

The historic significance of community-based collective action in decolonising education by Eve Doran

* All information shall be kept strictly confidential. However, if a safeguarding issue arises in line with statutory guidelines ‘anyone who has concerns about a child’s welfare should make a referral to local authority children’s social care and should do so immediately if there is a concern that the child is suffering significant harm or is likely to do so’ (Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2018) 

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